Recipe and photography by Joe Woodhouse
Now the weather has started to warm up, this is the perfect pasta dish to be eaten outside. I like to have half the peas and asparagus piled on top of the pasta as a fresh burst to the creamy sauce. If you prefer them warmer by all means add them to the sauce before the pasta and they will come back up to temperature. It really takes a good grinding of coarse black pepper, the spice and crunch playing well with the other ingredients.
The creamy tangy sauce pairs wonderfully with skin contact wines. Here it was washed down with a delicious drop from González Bastías. It also reheats really well with a splash of water in a wide based pan. If you know you will be reheating some try and leave the vegetables separate to help keep their freshness.
Serves 4 hungry people, or 6 as part of a meal
250g soft fresh goats cheese, or goats curd
250g Aspragus, woody ends snapped off
250g peas, either fresh podded weight or frozen, petit pois preferably
1 lemon, juice and zest
Small bunch of fresh oregano, leaves picked, equally marjoram, chives, or other fresh herbs work just as well
Extra virgin olive oil to serve
Sea salt flakes & Black Pepper
Put a medium pan of well salted water onto the hob and heat until you have a rolling. boil. Whilst you wait, prepare an ice bath in a mixing bowl for the vegetables.
Blanch the asparagus until just tender, remove and plunge into the ice water. Add the peas and cook for two minutes. Drain and add also to the ice bath.
Refill the pan and put back on the heat, again making sure you salt the water well. Once at a rolling boil add the pasta.
In a large mixing bowl add the goats cheese, lemon juice and zest. Once the pasta has boiled for a few minutes take two ladlefuls and add to the goats cheese mix.
Mash the contents of the mixing bowl together and stir to form a smooth sauce. Add a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper.
Drain and slice the asparagus spears diagonally in 2cm thick pieces. Add half the asparagus and half the peas to the goats cheese sauce.
Next add the oregano leaves to the remaining asparagus and peas, along with 2tbsp of olive oil and a good grind of pepper.
Once the pasta is just about cooked to your liking, drain and add to the goat cheese. Turn over to coat well in the sauce. It will be a little loose initially but the pasta will continue to cook and absorb the moisture.
Pour onto a generous serving platter or portion up into individual bowls. Finally top with the remaining vegetables and herbs. Add a further grind of black pepper and serve!