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Donal Skehan’s spring pasta

Welcoming the start of asparagus season, Donal's bringing his best pasta primavera to the kitchen. Think crispy salami, griddled asparagus & zesty lemon pasta, not only is it quick it's the ideal midweek hug in a bowl.

Donal Skehan’s Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Crispy Salami and Lemon

Serves: 2 - 3


250g casarecce pasta (can use gemelli or fusilli)100g fresh or frozen peas100g good-quality fennel salami, sliced1 tbsp olive oilBunch of asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off50g butter2 lemons, zested 250ml double cream 

For the vinaigrette:3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp white wine vinegar1 small handful parsley leaves, finely chopped 1 small handful fennel, finely chopped 1 large clove garlic100g parmesan, finely grated 75g rocket leavesSea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place a large pan of salted water over a high heat, bring to the boil and add the pasta. Cook according to packet instructions, adding the peas to the pasta cooking water for the last 2 minutes of cooking time.  

2. Whilst the pasta cooks, place a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and when hot, add the sliced salami. Dry fry, turning occasionally, until crisp, then remove to a plate and set aside. 

3. Heat the olive oil in a griddle or frying pan and sear the asparagus until lightly charred and just cooked.

4. Add the butter to the pan and allow to melt, then add the lemon zest and double cream. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced, stirring often. 

5. Meanwhile, whisk together the oil and vinegar, then mix in the parsley, fennel and garlic. Place the griddled asparagus in a shallow bowl and pour the dressing over twhe top to coat it.

6. Scoop the pasta and peas into the sauce along with a little of the pasta cooking liquid and toss to coat everything in the sauce. Allow to simmer for a minute or two until the pasta has absorbed most of the liquid. 

7. Remove from the heat and stir through two thirds of the parmesan, little by little, retaining a small amount to garnish. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then crumble in half of the crispy salami, breaking it into shards with your hands, and the rocket. 

8. Serve straight away in bowls with the asparagus, remaining parmesan and salami sprinkled over the top.

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