If there is any pasta that I can associate with spring, this one comes to mind. This recipe was a product of panic. Panic that 15 minutes before mealtime, I still didn't have food on the table nor in my mind. I did have a fresh bunch of asparagus but it ends there. I can easily steam them as a side dish but there is the problem of the main dish. I didn't have any. I have a couple of frozen sea bass but they can't be defrosted and cooked with one snap of the fingers. Unfortunately, I'm not Wonder Woman. As I rummaged through my cupboards once, twice, thrice....sigh. I finally settled for the almonds and dried cranberries. I never tried this combination before but as I mentally associate the ingredients with their corresponding tastes, there seems to be a possibility.
I improvised as I cooked on. I decided not to begin with garlic or onions because the flavor of each ingredient is so delicate that I wanted each of them to come out and complement each other. Adding mint in the final stage concluded the sauce to perfection. My perfection. Yours can be different.
With the first forkful, you would think that it seems insipid but as you eat, the delectable blending grows in you. It becomes more and more exquisite. I love it. I never thought cranberries, asparagus & mint can blend so well together.
Riccioli with Dried Cranberries, Asparagus & Mint
- 350 - 400 grams riccioli or any short pasta
- 350 grams asparagus, tough ends cut & shaved
- 30 grams dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup shaved almonds
- Bunch of mint leaves, chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Boil some water in a pot for the pasta. When it boils, add the salt. Cook the pasta according to the number of minutes suggested in the package.
- While waiting for the water of the pasta to boil, sautè the shaved asparagus. Toss in the pan for about 10 minutes. Add the wine. Let it evaporate with high flame.
- When the wine is reduced, add the cranberries. Season with salt & pepper.
- Add the mint (leave some to sprinkle before serving) & almonds. After about a minute, add the cooked pasta. Mix thoroughly for a minute.
- Before serving, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with some chopped mint leaves.