Asparagus, spring onion, and smoked trout pasta
Generously serves 2
1 heaping cup spring onion (from approximately 3 medium sized white bulbs), thinly sliced
2 heaping cups asparagus, chopped into ⅓ inch pieces
3 cups dried pasta (approximately half the box), preferably a bite sized shape like conchiglie, rigatoni, or penne
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more if needed
1 tin smoked rainbow trout
1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
2 tsp preserved lemon rind, finely minced
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp calabrian chili paste, or a good pinch of a chili powder you have on hand
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pecorino and torn mint to serve
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add 3 tbsp of olive oil. Add spring onions and toss to coat in oil. Season with a pinch of salt, but be judicious. I often season melting alliums with reckless abandon, but because of the already salty ingredients like capers it’s important to have a lighter seasoning hand than usual. Let cook over medium heat until softened and translucent, but be careful not to let them brown.
If the timing is right, your water should be boiling by the time your onions have had a few minutes to cook. Add your pasta and cook according to the timing on the box.
Once the onions are soft and the sharpness of their flavor has dissipated, add the capers, preserved lemon, calabrian chili paste and chopped asparagus. Give it a good toss to coat, and cook over medium heat for another 3-4 minutes. The objective here is to very gently cook the ingredients, allowing their flavors to mingle, without over cooking the asparagus. Add the tinned trout and gently mash into bite size pieces.
If your asparagus is perfectly crisp before your pasta is al dente, remove it from the heat and make it wait patiently. Taste your pasta, it should be barely less cooked than you’d like it to be when you serve it.
When the pasta is cooked, use a spider skimmer to transfer it directly into the asparagus-pan. Ladle in about ½ cup of pasta water and add the chopped parsley. Toss to coat until each piece of pasta is properly lacquered in saucey goodness.
Plate in your preferred bowl, shower in grated pecorino, and finish with torn mint and a good grind of black pepper.