Italian asparagus pasta recipe from Northern Italy

Italian asparagus pasta recipe from Northern Italy.

Northern Italian asparagus pasta recipe with green asparagus

 

Eliche alla crema di asparagi

Here in Veneto, Northern Italy, asparagus are a major player in the spring kitchen.  This is not surprising given that this region grows the most asparagus in Italy. Roadside asparagus sellers are a common sight during the season and asparagus fields abound. Needless to say, there are lots of local recipes for asparagus. However, the most popular ways to serve them are in soup, risotto or with pasta. This Northern Italian asparagus pasta recipe is a delicious version of a typical Venetian way to combine asparagus with pasta.

(Click to go straight to recipe)

Ingredients in basket for Northern Italian asparagus pasta recipe

Asparagus; white, green or wild?

Did you know that people have been eating asparagus since 3,000 B.C? The ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans loved them. The Romans even froze asparagus by transporting lots into the Alps and storing them there! Of course, now we don’t need to freeze asparagus in the mountains. We have fridges, freezers and other ways of preserving them. But, in reality, fresh farmed or wild asparagus are what you will find the most on Italian menus. Like many other seasonal Italian ingredients, asparagus are rarely eaten here when not in season.

Zucchini, onions and garlic cooking in frying pan

Italy is the biggest producer of green asparagus in Europe and the third of white. Both white and green are used in local recipes. I like both types. Some Italian recipes can be made with either, some are made with both and others specifically call for green or white or wild asparagus. This Italian asparagus pasta recipe is best made with fresh or wild green asparagus.

zucchini in blender bowl with asparagus spears and creamed asparagus in white bowls

Wild asparagus grow all over Italy and are a popular foraged food. They are most often just boiled and eaten as a side dish or served in frittata, but also in risotto and with pasta. Like many other wild versions of edible plants, wild asparagus are much smaller than their farmed cousins. However, they have a more pronounced ‘asparagus’ flavour.

creamed asparagus pasta sauce in white bowl and asparagus spears in white bowl

Other ingredients in this Italian asparagus pasta sauce.

Alongside the asparagus, I used garlic, parsley, zucchini and an onion to make the base sauce for this Italian asparagus pasta. Then I creamed the sauce in a blender in two stages. First the asparagus then the base sauce ingredients. I mixed them together and, finally, melted some Robiola and Parmesan cheese into it. Divine! In fact so good, you can just eat the sauce with bread!

Italian robiola cheese with asparagus sauce in frying pan

Robiola cheese

Robiola is a fresh soft cheese similar to stracchino. It comes from Piedmont, originating in the Langhe region, but is popular throughout the North. It’s usually made from cow and/or goat cheese, depending on the type of Robiola. It’s wonderful eaten with bread and honey! This cheese is often added to risotto or pasta dishes as it melts well and gives the dish a thick creamy texture! If you can’t find Robiola, you can use Stracchino or a good cream cheese.

Creamed sauce for Northern Italian asparagus pasta recipe with green asparagus

The Pasta

Traditionally penne or fresh long pasta such as tagliatelle are the most popular pasta partners for Italian asparagus pasta recipes. But, other short pasta types go really well too. I used eliche. Eliche, meaning spiral or propeller, is really another name for fusilli. However, the pasta I used was smaller than most fusilli and the spirals not as tight. 

Eliche pasta monograno by pastificio Felicetti

It was made by a pasta company called Pastificio Felicetti located in Trentino. This pasta is part of the company’s Monograno range and was made from organic Matt durum wheat from Puglia. The Felicetti pasta factory is located in Predazzo, a town 1,000 metres above sea level and they make their pasta with natural mountain spring water. This was my first time cooking with this brand of pasta. But, it won’t be my last. The pasta was tasty and held together really well with cooking. You’d be surprised how often I come across artisan pasta that falls apart when boiled!

Northern Italian asparagus pasta recipe

If you find Felicetti pasta (they export to many countries), I suggest you try it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. (This my opinon. I have no connection with this company!).

Northern Italian asparagus pasta recipe with green asparagus

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. You can comment and rate this recipe here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Buon appetito!

(To see the recipe just scroll down and click 2. It’s on the next page!)

Northern Italian asparagus pasta recipe with green asparagus

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11 Comments

  • Avatar
    April
    June 7, 2018 4:43 pm

    I love the green veggie sauce. I’m a big fan of asparagus. I eat it all the time. I think I want to add some to my pasta next time i make it and I might as well try out your green veggie sauce. Can’t wait to try it!

    • admin
      admin
      June 12, 2018 4:15 pm

      Thanks so much April! Asparagus is delicious with pasta. I’m sure you’ll love this dish if you try it! All the best Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Stephanie Simmons
    June 6, 2018 7:29 pm

    I’m dying to visit Italy someday but for now I’ll just have to make do with this yummy pasta!

  • Avatar
    Mayuri Patel
    June 6, 2018 6:31 pm

    Love the sauce…using asparagus and zucchini as a sauce base makes the pasta pretty healthy and tasty. Beautiful click of the pasta dish.

  • Avatar
    Patty
    June 6, 2018 2:50 pm

    That sauce looks fabtastic, I really must try it, everybody would love it in my family!

  • Avatar
    Beth
    June 5, 2018 6:30 pm

    This sauce looks exquisite! Lots of veggies in it, as well! I will have to look to see if I can find the cheese!

  • Avatar
    Amanda
    June 5, 2018 5:55 pm

    This pasta dish looks so comforting. Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    June 5, 2018 5:34 pm

    I love that first photo, of the ingredients in a basket, makes it look really fresh and Italian. And asparagus is such a great ingredient, although pretty expensive here in Norway. It looks divine!

  • Avatar
    mydeliciousmeals
    June 5, 2018 4:45 pm

    Like the addition of veggies to pasta, to make a healthier dish. Asparagus and zucchini are one of my favorites, thanks for sharing this!

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    Lisa
    June 5, 2018 4:26 pm

    Yum! Love your pasta recipes! Not a huge fan of asparagus, but I would try this!

  • Avatar
    Dick Kessler
    May 25, 2018 11:18 pm

    Hi just made asparagus pesto with corzetti. It was good but didn’t knock my socks of. My wife got two corzetti stamp from signor casoni in chiavari. His wife Alexandria adds some white wine to the pesto first time I have seen that. My corzetti were the appropriate thickness. Maybe I will add wine to the leftovers and see what happens

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