Asparagus and pappardelle make a winning combination, married perfectly together in this pappardelle recipe from Geoffrey Smeddle. Together with earthy broad beans and fresh marjoram, this pasta dish is a perfect way to celebrate the days of spring and early summer. To serve, add some shaved cheese on top; Parmesan and Pecorino Romano make lovely options, as does British Old Winchester if you'd like to keep this recipe vegetarian.
Geoffrey Smeddle, proprietor and chef of The Peat Inn in Fife, started his career working for Herbert Berger at The Café Royal and for Christopher Galvin in London. He then sealed his reputation as one of Scotland’s top chefs by opening Terence Conran's Etain, in Glasgow.
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Make the pea purée in advance. Shell the peas and discard the pod. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the peas for three minutes
500g of fresh peas in the pod
Drain the peas, reserving 1 cup the cooking water, and place into ice water
Place the peas in a blender with some of the cooking water, add a pinch of salt and sugar then process to a purée
1 pinch of sugar
Add just enough double cream to help it process, then set aside
150ml of double cream
Shell the broad beans from the outer pod then cook in boiling salted water for one minute before draining and refreshing in ice-cold water
500g of fresh broad beans
Once cold, drain and pop off the outer pod from each bean then set aside
Set aside six spears of asparagus per person. Cut off the tips and keep them to use as a garnish. Add the remainder of those spears to the others, which will be used to make ribbons
2 bunches of asparagus
Trim the woody base from the asparagus – this will be about an inch or so at the base of each spear, which can be reserved for soup
Using a swivel-head peeler and working from the head of the spear to the base, shave ribbons of asparagus and place them in a bowl
Bring a large pan of water and a second smaller one to the boil and salt both well
Gently reheat the pea purée in a small pan, taste for seasoning and set aside in a warm place
Place the pasta in the large pan of boiling water and cook until al dente. Boil the reserved asparagus tips in the smaller pan for four minutes
320g of pappardelle
Drain the pasta when done, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan, along with the cooking liquid, broad beans, a dash of olive oil, half the asparagus ribbons and half the fresh marjoram
5g of fresh marjoram
Season with salt and add half the asparagus spear tips. Divide the pea purée between four plates, making a round bed in the centre of each
Pile the pasta in the centre of each then finish with the rest of the shaved asparagus and the asparagus tips
Add one last dash of salt and pepper and then scatter the rest of the marjoram over the top