Jamie's asparagus carbonara recipe
Jamie says: "I never get bored cooking this dish – it comes together so effortlessly. I just love the contrast between the dark peppery pancetta and delicate asparagus, all coated in the silky egg and cheese sauce." See method
- 300g dried penne
- 350g asparagus
- 4 large eggs
- 50g pecorino or parmesan, plus extra to serve
- 4 rashers of smoked pancetta or streaky bacon
Each serving contains
of the reference intake
- Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, snap the woody ends off the asparagus, then slice the stalks roughly the same length as the pasta, halving any thick stalks lengthways. Separate the eggs, putting the yolks into a bowl (save the whites for making meringues another day), then finely grate in the cheese and mix together.
- Finely slice the pancetta, then place in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper and cook for 4 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
- Add the asparagus to the pancetta for 3 minutes, then drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of starchy cooking water. Tip the pasta into the pancetta pan, toss and stir everything together, then remove from the heat and wait 2 minutes for the pan to cool slightly (if the pan’s too hot, it’ll scramble; get it right and it’ll be smooth, silky and deliciously elegant).
- Loosen the egg mixture with a splash of cooking water, then pour over the pasta, tossing and stirring vigorously – the egg will gently cook in the residual heat. Season to perfection. adjust the consistency with extra cooking water, if needed, and finish with a pinch of pepper and an extra grating of cheese, if you like.
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Credit: 5 Ingredients Mediterranean by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Michael Joseph© Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2023, 5 Ingredients Mediterranean). Recipe photography David Loftus ©2023