Linguine with “Asparagus Carbonara”

    • Prep Time
    • Minutes
    • Cook Time
    • Minutes
    • Difficulty Level

Total Cost: UK/£ 6,21*

Cost/portion: UK/£ 2,07*

This is a very nice vegetarian alternative to the classic carbonara with streaky bacon.

Technically, any sauce made with egg yolks and Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese can be considered a “carbonara”. So nobody can object to a carbonara made with those two ingredients and some other vegetables of your choice. It is when it comes to bacon that the dispute really gets started! But we will talk about this in another post.

One word of advice about eggs: generally, it is good habit to stick to a ratio of one egg yolk every 90gr of pasta, plus one whole egg every 450/500gr of pasta.

Note for the users: please click on the label “HOW TO” to watch the slide-show of each cooking step.

*Please note that both total cost and cost per portion are approximate and that can vary according to seasons and to different conditions.

Recipe Rating

  • (6 Rating)

Ingredients

  • for the sauce

  • Parsley - 20gr (stalks and leaves)

  • Shallot - 1 small (about 40gr)

  • "Suited garlic” cloves - 2

  • Egg Yolks - 2

  • Asparagus - 250gr

  • Extra virgin olive oil - 50gr [part 1 of 2]

  • Extra virgin olive oil - 20gr [part 2 of 2]

  • Parmigiano cheese - 120gr

  • Salt - as needed

  • Black pepper - as needed

  • Unsalted boiling water - 5lt (the one for pasta)

  • Cooking water - about 20ml or 25ml

  • Cooking water - one tablespoon (optional)

  • for the pasta

  • Linguine - 240gr

  • Water* - 5lt

  • Salt* - 50gr

  • *If you want to use less water: not less than 3lt (see the main note about boiling pasta). Then you can reduce the salt to 30gr.
  • Utensils for the sauce

  • One chopping board

  • One towel

  • One paring knife

  • One chef knife

  • One small bowl

  • Cooking sting

  • One grater

  • One 6-8lt saucepan (the one for the pasta)

  • One large frying pan

  • Two wooden spoons or two silicone spatulas [or a pasta server]

  • Utensils for the pasta

  • One 6-8lt saucepan

  • One large strainer [or a pasta server]

  • One small bowl [or a pasta server]

  • One ladle

  • One large bowl

Instructions

  • 1.
    Preparing the vegetables and the egg yolks

    • Parsley - 20gr (stalks and leaves)
    • Shallot - 1 small (about 40gr)
    • Egg Yolks - 2
    • Asparagus - 250gr
    • Unsalted boiling water - 5lt (the one for pasta)

    • One towel
    • One chopping board
    • One paring knife
    • One chef knife
    • One small bowl
    • Cooking sting
    • One 6-8lt saucepan (the one for the pasta)

      Put the saucepan with 5lt of water on high heat and cover with a lid. This water will also be used for boiling the asparagus which will make pasta much tastier. The water will take from 10 to 15 minutes to get to a stable boiling. Do not salt it.
      Thoroughly wash the asparagus under running water. Bend them gently, so they will break exactly where the stalk would be too tough to be pleasant. If your asparagus are quite big, they will need to be peeled (about two thirds of their length) first, then you will chop off their tender tips with a knife. Wrap together the peaks with a cooking string and do the same with the tough ends: they will both boil into the same water for pasta.
      Thoroughly wash the parsley and dry it with a towel without making any pressure on it. Separate the leaves from the stalks. Keep a couple of stalks aside and make a ”bouquet garni” with the others.
      Finely mince the shallot into a brunoise and set aside.
      Break the eggs and separate the yolks. Set aside.

      Note about cutting the shallot into brunoise

      With a paring knife, chop off the tip of the shallot. Clean the roots, halve it and peel off the tunics. Put each half facing down on a chopping board. With either the paring knife or the tip of the chef knife, make vertical cuts - 2millimeters apart from each other - driving the tip of the knife as close to the roots as possible. Hold the shallot together with one hand’s fingers, get the chef knife and with a fulcrum movement complete the mincing with narrow cuts.

  • 2.
    Frying the base with garlic, parsley and shallot

    • Extra virgin olive oil - 50gr [part 1 of 2]
    • “Suited garlic” cloves - 2
    • Parsley - the “bouquet garni” of stalks”
    • The shallot brunoise
    • Salt - a pinch

    • One large frying pan

      When the water for the asparagus has started boiling, put the frying pan on medium heat with the the oil, the two garlic cloves and the “bouquet garni” of parsley. Let it come to temperature, then add the shallot. When the shallot will get softened and lightly golden, season it with a pinch of salt.
      Lower the power to the minimum and let it fry gently.

  • 3.
    Boiling the asparagus

    • Parsley - the “bouquet garni” of stalks”
    • Asparagus - the peaks and the ends
    • The unsalted boiling water - 5lt

    • One 6-8lt saucepan (the one for the pasta)

      When the water starts boiling, drop the asparagus in together with the parsley stalks. Do not cover with the lid. Let them boil for 3 minutes (4 minutes at the maximum).
      Later, you will take only the peaks out and let the ends and the parsley keep flavoring the water.

  • 4.
    Cutting the tips and dicing the peaks

    • The boiled asparagus peaks

    • One chef knife
    • One chopping board

      Take the asparagus out of the water and leave the stalks in. Put the lid back on the saucepan and keep the water boiling on high heat.
      Untie the asparagus and align them by the peaks on a chopping board. Cut the tips and put them aside (they should be about 4 or 5 centimeters long). Dice the rest of the peaks into small rolls. Set aside.

  • 5.
    Putting the linguine to boil (in the asparagus water)

    • Linguine - 240gr
    • Water - 5lt (the one for asparagus)
    • Salt* - 50gr
    • *If you want to use less water: not less than 3lt (see the main note about boiling pasta). Then you can reduce the salt to 30gr.

    • The large saucepan for asparagus

      Add the 50gr of salt to the boiling water and, after the boiling has settled, add the pasta. Stir frequently for the first few minutes to avoid the pasta sticking to the bottom or to each other.
      Linguine will take from 9 to 10 minutes to cook (check the timing on the packaging), but you will need to strain them 2 or 3 minutes earlier: keep a couple of ladles of the cooking water to add it to the pasta while binding it with the sauce in the frying pan.

      Note about salt and water for pasta

      If you think you might forget to salt water before adding pasta, you can salt water right after putting it on heat. This can become a safe routine, but the commonly unknown result of this is that it will require a longer time to come to the boiling temperature of 100ºC. It would be better instead to wait for the boiling to start and then carefully add the salt. The addiction of salt at this stage causes a sudden increase of the temperature of the solution for a couple of seconds during which the water increases the bubbling and risks to pour out if the pan’s sides are not sufficiently high.

      So the right pan should be taller than its diameter and capacious enough to contain a good amount of water.

      The minimum ratio between water and pasta is 1lt every 100gr. Although, for small amount of pasta it’s better to use a fairly large and deep pan which will keep the water to temperature also after dropping the pasta in. So that’s why I prefer to use 5lt of water even just to cook a single portion of pasta.

      Another important detail of which to take care, is the right quantity of salt to add to the water. It depends on the quantity of salt the condiment for pasta is going to contain and the cooking time that pasta requires; not only on your personal taste.

      A normal dose of salt is 11-12gr per litre of water and it can be increased to a maximum of 14-15gr for those who like their food to be particularly savoury. When using ingredients which are already salty themselves, like bacon or ham, the dose can be lowered to a minimum of 9-10gr per litre of water, as well as when you know that you will bind pasta with a lot of its own cooking water.

      Keep also in mind that longer cooking time requires smaller doses of salt whereas quicker cooking will need a larger dose.

  • 6.
    Preparing the carbonara base

    • Extra virgin olive oil - 20gr [part 2 of 2]
    • Egg Yolks - 2
    • Parmigiano cheese - 120gr
    • Cooking water - one tablespoon (optional)

    • One large bowl
    • One grater

      Grate the cheese into the large bowl. Drizzle the 20gr of extra virgin olive oil on top of it and stir. Add the egg yolks. Set aside.
      Just before adding the pasta to it, you might want to add table spoon of cooking liquor to make the sauce runnier.

  • 7.
    Pan frying the asparagus and mincing the parsley

    • The diced asparagus
    • The asparagus tips
    • The frying base
    • Salt - a pinch
    • Black pepper - as needed
    • The parsley leaves

    • One chef knife
    • One chopping board

      Take the fried parsley stalks off the frying pan and add the asparagus. Stir and season to pleasure with salt and black pepper.
      Finely mince the parsley with the chef knife and put it aside for later.

  • 8.
    Straining the pasta

    • One small bowl [or a pasta server]
    • One large Strainer [or a pasta server]
    • One ladle

      Seven or eight minutes have past since you dropped the linguine into water. They will not be ready yet and if you lift one strand with a fork, you will see that it does not hang vertically as if it was perfectly cooked "al dente”.
      Collect about 20ml or 25ml of cooking water with a ladle and put aside in a small receptacle.
      Drain the pasta thoroughly with a strainer. Do not let it dry completely: the water that coasts the linguine will protect them from the thermic shock they will undergo when tossing in the frying pan. If you have a pasta server, instead, simply collect all pasta from the saucepan and put it directly into the frying pan.

      Note about the correct cooking point "al dente”

      ”Al dente” literally means ”to the tooth”. It indicates the perfect consistency that pasta, or any other food, should have at the end of the cooking process: not too soft and not too hard at chewing. Pasta cooked ”al dente” maintains a harder consistency at the centre of the dough sheet which gives the diners a pleasant feeling of ”biting” rather than ”mushing” something under their teeth.

  • 9.
    Binding the pasta with the asparagus

    • The drained linguine
    • Cooking water - about 20ml or 25ml
    • The frying pan with the asparagus
    • One ladle

    • Two wooden spoons or silicon spatulas (if necessary)

      Bring the heat to a medium-high level and immediately add all the linguine. Stir and toss quickly with the two spoons then add one ladle of cooking water. Keep tossing and stirring frequently trying not to ruin the tips so they will look still nice when serving.
      The juices will reduce quickly and cook the pasta, the starch of which - dissolved in the liquor - will thicken the sauce. Add another ladle if you think that the pasta needs to cook a little longer.

      Note about binding pasta

      As for rice, almost all recipes require pasta to be bound together with its sauce and tossed over heat. This allows the sauce to grab to the surface of pasta, whether it is smooth or lined or bronze wire-drawn, so that every forkful will have its perfect balance of flavors and textures. Otherwise, sauce would slip away while eating and you would end up with a good quantity of the sauce still on the bottom of the bowl.
      Another very good idea, even if not allowed by etiquette, is to eat pasta - any kind of pasta - with some nice fresh crusty bread. Bread’s starchy flavor enhances both the flavors of the sauce and the pasta dough itself.

  • 10.
    Mixing pasta with the carbonara base and the parsley

    • The carbonara base in the bowl
    • The linguine tossed with the asparagus
    • Cooking water - one tablespoon (optional)
    • The minced parsley

    • One ladle
    • One wooden spoon or a pasta server

      If you think the linguine have dried too much while frying with the asparagus, add one tablespoon or cooing liquor to the carbonara base. Then, immediately pour the linguine from the frying pan into the bowl.
      Start stirring immediately so that the ingredients will get mixed evenly while coating the linguine and thickening thanks the heat of pasta itself.
      Add the minced parsley and stir.
      Serve immediately.

Instructions

  • 1.
    Preparing the vegetables and the egg yolks

    • Parsley - 20gr (stalks and leaves)
    • Shallot - 1 small (about 40gr)
    • Egg Yolks - 2
    • Asparagus - 250gr
    • Unsalted boiling water - 5lt (the one for pasta)

    • One towel
    • One chopping board
    • One paring knife
    • One chef knife
    • One small bowl
    • Cooking sting
    • One 6-8lt saucepan (the one for the pasta)

      Put the saucepan with 5lt of water on high heat and cover with a lid. This water will also be used for boiling the asparagus which will make pasta much tastier. The water will take from 10 to 15 minutes to get to a stable boiling. Do not salt it.
      Thoroughly wash the asparagus under running water. Bend them gently, so they will break exactly where the stalk would be too tough to be pleasant. If your asparagus are quite big, they will need to be peeled (about two thirds of their length) first, then you will chop off their tender tips with a knife. Wrap together the peaks with a cooking string and do the same with the tough ends: they will both boil into the same water for pasta.
      Thoroughly wash the parsley and dry it with a towel without making any pressure on it. Separate the leaves from the stalks. Keep a couple of stalks aside and make a ”bouquet garni” with the others.
      Finely mince the shallot into a brunoise and set aside.
      Break the eggs and separate the yolks. Set aside.

      Note about cutting the shallot into brunoise

      With a paring knife, chop off the tip of the shallot. Clean the roots, halve it and peel off the tunics. Put each half facing down on a chopping board. With either the paring knife or the tip of the chef knife, make vertical cuts - 2millimeters apart from each other - driving the tip of the knife as close to the roots as possible. Hold the shallot together with one hand’s fingers, get the chef knife and with a fulcrum movement complete the mincing with narrow cuts.

  • 2.
    Frying the base with garlic, parsley and shallot

    • Extra virgin olive oil - 50gr [part 1 of 2]
    • “Suited garlic” cloves - 2
    • Parsley - the “bouquet garni” of stalks”
    • The shallot brunoise
    • Salt - a pinch

    • One large frying pan

      When the water for the asparagus has started boiling, put the frying pan on medium heat with the the oil, the two garlic cloves and the “bouquet garni” of parsley. Let it come to temperature, then add the shallot. When the shallot will get softened and lightly golden, season it with a pinch of salt.
      Lower the power to the minimum and let it fry gently.

  • 3.
    Boiling the asparagus

    • Parsley - the “bouquet garni” of stalks”
    • Asparagus - the peaks and the ends
    • The unsalted boiling water - 5lt

    • One 6-8lt saucepan (the one for the pasta)

      When the water starts boiling, drop the asparagus in together with the parsley stalks. Do not cover with the lid. Let them boil for 3 minutes (4 minutes at the maximum).
      Later, you will take only the peaks out and let the ends and the parsley keep flavoring the water.

  • 4.
    Cutting the tips and dicing the peaks

    • The boiled asparagus peaks

    • One chef knife
    • One chopping board

      Take the asparagus out of the water and leave the stalks in. Put the lid back on the saucepan and keep the water boiling on high heat.
      Untie the asparagus and align them by the peaks on a chopping board. Cut the tips and put them aside (they should be about 4 or 5 centimeters long). Dice the rest of the peaks into small rolls. Set aside.

  • 5.
    Putting the linguine to boil (in the asparagus water)

    • Linguine - 240gr
    • Water - 5lt (the one for asparagus)
    • Salt* - 50gr
    • *If you want to use less water: not less than 3lt (see the main note about boiling pasta). Then you can reduce the salt to 30gr.

    • The large saucepan for asparagus

      Add the 50gr of salt to the boiling water and, after the boiling has settled, add the pasta. Stir frequently for the first few minutes to avoid the pasta sticking to the bottom or to each other.
      Linguine will take from 9 to 10 minutes to cook (check the timing on the packaging), but you will need to strain them 2 or 3 minutes earlier: keep a couple of ladles of the cooking water to add it to the pasta while binding it with the sauce in the frying pan.

      Note about salt and water for pasta

      If you think you might forget to salt water before adding pasta, you can salt water right after putting it on heat. This can become a safe routine, but the commonly unknown result of this is that it will require a longer time to come to the boiling temperature of 100ºC. It would be better instead to wait for the boiling to start and then carefully add the salt. The addiction of salt at this stage causes a sudden increase of the temperature of the solution for a couple of seconds during which the water increases the bubbling and risks to pour out if the pan’s sides are not sufficiently high.

      So the right pan should be taller than its diameter and capacious enough to contain a good amount of water.

      The minimum ratio between water and pasta is 1lt every 100gr. Although, for small amount of pasta it’s better to use a fairly large and deep pan which will keep the water to temperature also after dropping the pasta in. So that’s why I prefer to use 5lt of water even just to cook a single portion of pasta.

      Another important detail of which to take care, is the right quantity of salt to add to the water. It depends on the quantity of salt the condiment for pasta is going to contain and the cooking time that pasta requires; not only on your personal taste.

      A normal dose of salt is 11-12gr per litre of water and it can be increased to a maximum of 14-15gr for those who like their food to be particularly savoury. When using ingredients which are already salty themselves, like bacon or ham, the dose can be lowered to a minimum of 9-10gr per litre of water, as well as when you know that you will bind pasta with a lot of its own cooking water.

      Keep also in mind that longer cooking time requires smaller doses of salt whereas quicker cooking will need a larger dose.

  • 6.
    Preparing the carbonara base

    • Extra virgin olive oil - 20gr [part 2 of 2]
    • Egg Yolks - 2
    • Parmigiano cheese - 120gr
    • Cooking water - one tablespoon (optional)

    • One large bowl
    • One grater

      Grate the cheese into the large bowl. Drizzle the 20gr of extra virgin olive oil on top of it and stir. Add the egg yolks. Set aside.
      Just before adding the pasta to it, you might want to add table spoon of cooking liquor to make the sauce runnier.

  • 7.
    Pan frying the asparagus and mincing the parsley

    • The diced asparagus
    • The asparagus tips
    • The frying base
    • Salt - a pinch
    • Black pepper - as needed
    • The parsley leaves

    • One chef knife
    • One chopping board

      Take the fried parsley stalks off the frying pan and add the asparagus. Stir and season to pleasure with salt and black pepper.
      Finely mince the parsley with the chef knife and put it aside for later.

  • 8.
    Straining the pasta

    • One small bowl [or a pasta server]
    • One large Strainer [or a pasta server]
    • One ladle

      Seven or eight minutes have past since you dropped the linguine into water. They will not be ready yet and if you lift one strand with a fork, you will see that it does not hang vertically as if it was perfectly cooked "al dente”.
      Collect about 20ml or 25ml of cooking water with a ladle and put aside in a small receptacle.
      Drain the pasta thoroughly with a strainer. Do not let it dry completely: the water that coasts the linguine will protect them from the thermic shock they will undergo when tossing in the frying pan. If you have a pasta server, instead, simply collect all pasta from the saucepan and put it directly into the frying pan.

      Note about the correct cooking point "al dente”

      ”Al dente” literally means ”to the tooth”. It indicates the perfect consistency that pasta, or any other food, should have at the end of the cooking process: not too soft and not too hard at chewing. Pasta cooked ”al dente” maintains a harder consistency at the centre of the dough sheet which gives the diners a pleasant feeling of ”biting” rather than ”mushing” something under their teeth.

  • 9.
    Binding the pasta with the asparagus

    • The drained linguine
    • Cooking water - about 20ml or 25ml
    • The frying pan with the asparagus
    • One ladle

    • Two wooden spoons or silicon spatulas (if necessary)

      Bring the heat to a medium-high level and immediately add all the linguine. Stir and toss quickly with the two spoons then add one ladle of cooking water. Keep tossing and stirring frequently trying not to ruin the tips so they will look still nice when serving.
      The juices will reduce quickly and cook the pasta, the starch of which - dissolved in the liquor - will thicken the sauce. Add another ladle if you think that the pasta needs to cook a little longer.

      Note about binding pasta

      As for rice, almost all recipes require pasta to be bound together with its sauce and tossed over heat. This allows the sauce to grab to the surface of pasta, whether it is smooth or lined or bronze wire-drawn, so that every forkful will have its perfect balance of flavors and textures. Otherwise, sauce would slip away while eating and you would end up with a good quantity of the sauce still on the bottom of the bowl.
      Another very good idea, even if not allowed by etiquette, is to eat pasta - any kind of pasta - with some nice fresh crusty bread. Bread’s starchy flavor enhances both the flavors of the sauce and the pasta dough itself.

  • 10.
    Mixing pasta with the carbonara base and the parsley

    • The carbonara base in the bowl
    • The linguine tossed with the asparagus
    • Cooking water - one tablespoon (optional)
    • The minced parsley

    • One ladle
    • One wooden spoon or a pasta server

      If you think the linguine have dried too much while frying with the asparagus, add one tablespoon or cooing liquor to the carbonara base. Then, immediately pour the linguine from the frying pan into the bowl.
      Start stirring immediately so that the ingredients will get mixed evenly while coating the linguine and thickening thanks the heat of pasta itself.
      Add the minced parsley and stir.
      Serve immediately.

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