Day 10 – Spaghetti with Asparagus and Poached Egg
There is something about the first blush of warm weather that sends us all into a frenzy of lightening up. Whether it be a sunnier disposition, an urge to get out into the back yard and feel the sun on our faces, a new exercise plan or shedding the bulky clothing for a few less layers, we all seem to be hard-wired to do it the moment the temperature rises.
It doesn’t matter that these first warm days are so precarious, followed as they are by a crushing cold change or wild weather – we welcome it as a reminder that spring – REAL spring, with hay fever, wisteria blossom, racing carnivals and footy finals – is not too far away.
Which is why, despite the hollering gale that threatens to upend garden furniture and strip the peach tree of all blossom outside as I write this, my attention turns towards a welcome change from slow food, carb-heavy desserts and rib-sticking hearty food. And besides, it’s the first few days of asparagus and I simply can’t wait a day longer to enjoy this once a year treat.
We know that asparagus and poached eggs are a match made in heaven, but with parmesan cheese they are peerless. It doesn’t need too much tricking up. Indeed it only requires a little more bulk. Pasta reliably comes to the rescue.
300g dried spaghetti or linguine; 2 bunches asparagus (about 12-16 spears in all); 1 tbsp (20g) butter; ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese;1 tbsp white vinegar; 4 free-range eggs; salt and freshly ground black pepper; some lemon wedges to serve (optional)
Bring a large pasta pot of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to directions on the packet until al dente. Trim the asparagus spears by snapping them between your forefinger and thumb, then add them to the spaghetti in the final minute of cooking.
Remove one cup of cooking water from the spaghetti, then drain the rest. Return the spaghetti and asparagus to the hot pot and stir through the butter and enough of the reserved cooking water to coat the pasta in a buttery sauce. Stir through the parmesan to just combine.
Meanwhile bring a large saucepan with water at about an 8cm depth to a very gentle simmer so that just a few bubbles are starting to lift to the surface. Add the vinegar, then crack the eggs in one at a time and cook at a gentle simmer for 3 minutes. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towel or a clean tea towel.
To serve, spoon the spaghetti and asparagus into four noodle or pasta bowls and gently place one poached egg in the middle of each bowl. Top with a little salt and pepper and some more pass some more parmesan or a couple of lemon wedges around the table.
$8.10 for four people