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Double deliciousness

Julie Biuso and her daughter Ilaria share the kitchen bench and create double the deliciousness in their new book, Shared Kitchen, Real Food From Scratch. The 160-plus recipes and tips focus on fresh, seasonal food that is bursting with flavour and is easy to prepare and cook.

“There are so many really great mid-week meals in Shared Kitchen that you can whip up when you're short of time, ingredients, or dollars. We love to use seasonal produce because it's fresher and helps keep the cost down,' says Ilaria.

So what are you waiting for? Try this one:

Pasta with Asparagus & Crunchy Crumbs

This dish makes a lot of a few ingredients — breadcrumbs, pasta, seasonings and asparagus — and is easy to throw together for a light meal.

INGREDIENTS:

125ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil

30g (½ cup) fresh sourdough breadcrumbs

Flaky sea salt

350g (12oz) asparagus, trimmed

Coarse sea or rock salt for cooking asparagus and pasta

400g (14 oz) penne (or use linguine or fettuccine)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tiny dried bird's-eye chillies, crushed

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

3 Tbsp capers, drained, patted dry with paper towels and chopped

½ cup loosely packed small mint leaves, torn into small pieces

¼ cup loosely packed young parsley sprigs, torn into small pieces

Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

METHOD:

• Heat 2 tablespoons of the measured oil in a small frying pan (skillet) over medium heat and once it is hot add the breadcrumbs. Cook until golden and crisp, turning often. Transfer to a side plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.

• Cook asparagus in gently boiling, lightly salted water for about 7 minutes, or until tender (the asparagus must not be too crunchy in this dish). Drain, refresh with cold water, drain, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut into short lengths.

• Cook the pasta in plenty of gently boiling, well-salted water until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, put the garlic and chillies in a large pan with the rest of the oil and warm gently over a low heat, so the garlic and chillies flavour the oil — don't let the garlic fry.

• Drain pasta and transfer it to the pan of garlic and chilli oil with any clinging water (don't shake it dry). Add lemon zest and capers, toss again, then add asparagus, mint and parsley. Toss then transfer to a heated bowl. Sprinkle with the crunchy crumbs and serve immediately with parmesan.

* Serves 4

Recipe Notes:

Linguine (flat slim noodles) work well in this dish but I like the way small pieces of capers and asparagus get trapped inside the tubes of penne pasta — so you get a double whammy in a mouthful! The best size of asparagus is medium-sized, not skinny jobs and not big fat ones either. Oh, I'm so fussy, aren't I?

Don't bother making the crumbs if you only have ‘doughy' white bread from the supermarket. Sourdough crumbs turn wonderfully crunchy and develop great flavour.

Pasta with Asparagus & Crunchy Crumbs.
Shared Kitchen, Real Food From Scratch by Julie & Ilaria Biuso. Published by Bateman 2020. RRP: $39.99