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A taste of Italy: three delicious pasta recipes

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Simple and elegant, these essential pasta dishes work equally well for special occasions and family mealtimes. What’s more, they take just minutes to make.

Asparagus Spaghetti

Serves four

  • 500g asparagus
  • 100g butter
  • 1 slice stale white bread, crumbed
  • 200ml double cream
  • 25ml chicken stock
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 50g Gruyère, grated

Wash the asparagus and remove any tough stalks. Place in a large, shallow pan, salt to taste, and cover with boiling water. Cook for around 8 minutes. Drain and plunge into cold water. Cut into 2-centimetre lengths, discarding any tough parts. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the breadcrumbs and cook gently, stirring all the time, for two minutes. Add the cream and stock. Stir well and add the asparagus. Cook for 5 minutes and set aside. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and add to the asparagus. Stir in the cheese and serve at once.

Fedelini with Lemon Sauce

Serves four

  • 25g butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼tsp dried chilli flakes, crushed
  • 2 lemons
  • 100g prawns
  • 500ml double cream
  • 500g fedelini

Melt the butter and gently fry the garlic until it is golden brown. Add the chilli flakes. Wash the lemons and grate the zest finely. Use a zester so that you can use the fine threads of lemon as a garnish. Add the prawns to the garlic and butter. Heat gently, then add the lemon rind and cream. Simmer for 50 minutes. Bring water to the boil in a large pan. Add the fedelini, then drain it immediately because the aim is not to cook the pasta but to make it flexible. Add the pasta to the cream sauce, and cook gently for around 3 minutes. Season to taste and add a little more cream. Garnish with lemon zest to serve.

Classic Carbonara

Serves four

  • 5 eggs
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 200g streaky bacon, diced
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 100g Parmesan, grated

Beat the eggs and cream together with a pinch of salt. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Add the bacon and cook gently. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and add to the bacon pan. Stir well. Remove from the heat and stir in the eggs and cream and a little cheese. The eggs coagulate as they come into contact with the hot pasta, so work quickly. Stir until each strand of pasta is coated with a thick yellow cream. Season and stir in the remaining cheese to serve. Garnish with a raw egg if desired.


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