Combine pasta with asparagus and Parma ham for an elegant dish. The grilled asparagus is lightly browned for a distinctive and divine flavour. It’s important that the butter is great quality as with so few extra ingredients it has nowhere to hide. Making your own pasta isn’t difficult and the difference in flavour is so impressive and absolutely worth it.

pasta

Serves 6

Ingredients

500g (1lb 2oz) 00 flour or strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
Approximately 20 spears of asparagus
75g (3oz) Kerrygold butter, now softer
3 tbsp crème fraîche
8 large slices of Parma or Serrano ham, roughly cut into strips

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan shavings, grated lemon zest and basil leaves, to garnish

Method

Add the flour and salt to a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together 4 eggs, then add about two thirds of the egg into the flour and bring together to form a dough — you’ll really have to knead it to come together, adding more egg if necessary.
The dough should be pliable but not wet and sticky. Next, knead the pasta dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth on the surface, then rest for 10 minutes.
Next roll it out. If you’re using a pasta machine you’ll need to roll it out first on the thickest setting, then through the machine again one setting thinner. Keep going until the pasta is about 1mm thick – — you should be able to read a newspaper headline through it when it’s rolled!
Alternatively you can use a good old rolling pin, and simply use a little flour to roll out the dough to the same 1mm thickness.
You now have pasta sheets, which you can cut in to strips about 1cm wide. Dust with a little flour to stop the ribbons sticking. Set aside.
Next prepare the asparagus, snap off the tough woody part at the bottom of each asparagus spear and discard.
Place a cast iron griddle pan on a high heat or alternatively light a barbecue and allow to get quite hot.
Spread half of the Kerrygold Softer butter over the asparagus spears, season with salt and pepper, then place on the barbecue or griddle pan. Cook, turning once for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until tender and lightly scorched.
Remove from the barbecue or grill, then cut each spear at an angle in to about 3 – 4 pieces. Toss in a bowl with the remaining butter.
To cook the pasta, place a large saucepan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Add the pasta ribbons and cook for about 2-4 minutes until just al dente. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid, and return to the warm pan, off the heat.
Add the crème fraîche to the drained pasta in the pan and toss to coat, then tip in the asparagus and Parma ham and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Serve in warmed bowls with a few shavings of Parmesan, grated lemon zest and a few basil leaves on top of each portion.

Cooks Tip: If asparagus is out of season use courgettes instead, thinly sliced lengthways.

This recipe was made using Kerrygold butter, now softer; for more delicious recipes visit www.facebook.com/KerrygoldUK

Do you like pasta with asparagus?

Almond Brittle Cake recipe

Calories per serving: 623 Fat per serving: 35.5g

Serves 12

Rachel Allen Almond Brittle Cake

Ingredients

150g (5oz) Kerrygold block butter, now softer
175g (6oz) caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
150g (5oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g (3oz) ground almonds
2 tsp milk

Almond Brittle
vegetable oil, for greasing
100g (4oz) granulated sugar
100g (4oz) whole almonds (unskinned)

Almond Butter Icing
225g (8oz) Kerrygold block butter, now softer
450g (1lb) icing sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

2 x 18cm (7 inch) deep sandwich tins or cake tins

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan oven 170°C, Gas Mark 5.

Grease the cake tins with a little Kerrygold butter and line the bases with baking paper or greaseproof paper.

Beat the Kerrygold butter and sugar together until light and creamy, then gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition.

Sieve the flour and baking powder together, then add to the creamed mixture with the ground almonds.

Stir in the milk.

Divide equally between the prepared tins. Bake for 22-25 minutes.

While the cakes are cooking, make the almond brittle.

First, grease a baking sheet with a little vegetable oil.

Next, combine the sugar and almonds in a heavy saucepan.

Put over a medium-low heat until the sugar turns caramel colour, carefully rotating the pan until the almonds are covered – this will only take a few minutes.

Very carefully pour the mixture onto the baking sheet. Cool. (TAKE GREAT CARE when making caramel and NEVER touch it – it reaches an extremely high temperature. Keep a watchful eye on the pan as you make it – don’t just leave it to cook).

Remove the cakes from the oven and cool in the tins for a few minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the Kerrygold butter until soft, then gradually beat in the icing sugar, using a hand-held electric mixer.

Beat in the vanilla extract.

Chop half the cooled almond brittle finely and stir it into the icing.

To assemble, spilt each cake in half. Spread with butter icing, then sandwich the two cakes together with more icing. Spread the rest of the icing around the top and sides of the cake.

Break off some shards of almond brittle and arrange on top of the cake. Coarsely chop the rest and sprinkle over the top of the cake.

Alternative: Use whole unskinned hazelnuts instead of almonds for the brittle.

Do you have a favourite almond recipe to share?

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