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Asparagus carbonara

by Sarah Alcock

Serves: 4

Asparagus season is upon us – out with foreign imports and in with glorious, verdant green British asparagus. Feast on it while the season is high – lay the spears in a wide-bottomed pan. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and enough boiling water just to cover. Boil for 3-4 minutes then drain, toss in melted butter and eat piping hot. Griddling asparagus adds something special to the flavour too – blanch the spears first then griddle over a high heat for a further few minutes.

Or, for a quick supper add asparagus to a classic carbonara. This recipe was originally in Sainsbury's magazine, written by the lovely Alice Hart. It's become a favourite here at the mag, it's quick and delicious.

What are your favourite asparagus recipes? Do tell us in the comments box.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 100g pecorino cheese, finely grated
  • 300g dried penne
  • 250g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 4cm pieces
  • ½ x 28g pack basil, leaves only, shredded
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted


  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat and gently soften the garlic for a couple of minutes. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks, egg and two-thirds of the grated cheese in a small bowl. Add the garlic and season with lots of black pepper.
  3. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water, according to pack instructions. Add the asparagus for the last 3 or 4 minutes. Drain, saving half a mugful of the cooking water.
  4. Return the pasta and asparagus to the pan and add the egg and cheese mixture, stirring constantly. Add enough of the reserved cooking water – about 4 tablespoons – to create a creamy sauce that coats the pasta; stir in the basil.
  5. Scatter with the pine nuts and serve with the remaining cheese.


When cooking with fatter asparagus spears, break off the wooden ends before cooking

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