Asparagus is available for only a very short season. We love it and try to eat it in as many ways as possible before the long wait for the next harvest. This sauce could be made with cream, but substituting with good ricotta keeps it a little lighter.
- 2 bunches asparagus
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
- 0.5 litres (half pint) vegetable stock
- 120g/ 4 oz fresh good quality ricotta cheese
- Prepare the asparagus by cutting off and discarding the woody, muddy ends (where the asparagus naturally snaps - try it on one and cut all in the same way).
- Peel or thoroughly wash the next 5 cm/3 inches, rinse and cut off and set aside the spears (3 cm/2 inches approx).
- Cut into fine discs (NOT the spears - save them for later) and add to hot oil.
- Cook on a low-medium flame.
- When the asparagus has softened quite a lot (2-3 minutes) add the garlic, salt and pepper and continue cooking (1 minute) on a low flame, stirring well to prevent burning.
- Add the stock and evaporate off (3 minutes).
- Add the spears and cook for a further minute or two, to cook the spears but keep some bite (large spears may need 2-3 minutes). If you like, use a garlic press to mince the garlic and put back in the sauce. If not, discard.
- Add pepper, the ricotta cheese and a good swirl of extra virgin olive oil when tossing with the pasta.