Asparagus with Spaghetti (and Chilli, Basil and Parsley)

This morning my co-blogger expressed a desire for asparagus with a supplementary fancy of chilli. Combine this with a lunchtime purchase of parsley, a basil plant wilting on the windowsill, and the recent gift of a superb slab of Parmesan from Parma, and you get the recipe below:

Asparagus with Spaghetti

And here be a short film about asparagus.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Skill level: Easy
Serves: 2


  • asparagus – 1 large bunch
  • spaghetti – 225g
  • garlic – 3 cloves – finely chopped
  • 2 red chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
  • fresh basil – big handful – finely chopped
  • fresh parsley – big handful – finely chopped
  • olive oil – healthy slug – about 6tbsp
  • s & p
  • parmesan
  • lemon – 2 wedges

Start by cutting off the heads of the asparagus to a length of about 8cm. Cut the stalks in half along their length (you may not to have to do this if the stalks are thin)

Plunge the spaghetti into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan and add the asparagus. After 5 minutes add the garlic and chilli and continue to fry until the asparagus is soft and slightly charred. Season with salt and pepper.

asparagus cooking

Drain the pasta.

Throw the herbs in with the asparagus and stir.

Serve up the spaghetti and place the asparagus on top, pouring over any remaining oil.


Add some Parmesan shavings and a twist of lemon.

Verdict: This makes a quick mid-week treat. Add more chilli if you have the taste for something hotter.

Drink: White.

Entertainment: The third and final episode of ‘A Cook’s Tour of Spain‘. What can I say? On the plus side Tommi was very enthusiastic, cooked some delicious food, and didn’t shy away from showing the death and butchering of the animals she ate.

On the negative side, this was yet another piece of heavily formatted TV:

  • Tommi cooks a local dish (with a twist) for the locals and anxiously wonders if they are going to like it – they always do.
  • Tommi cooks something in her kitchen, tastes it, and eulogises about how the Spanish like to take quality ingredients, pack them with flavour, and cook them very simply.
  • Guy shoots a woodland creature ‘through the heart’, and Tommi cooks it up with a side order of foraged vegetation.
  • etc

Most annoying is the use of the Jamie Oliver technique of not looking directly at the camera, but instead talking to an invisible person who is standing somewhere to your right. I assume this style of presenting is meant to look fresh, modern and informal, but unfortunately it ends up making the presenter look like they are incapable of eye contact. A bit autistic in fact. Cooking with Rain Man.

And boy, is Tommi posh?

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