Italian asparagus pasta recipe from Northern Italy

Italian asparagus pasta recipe from Northern Italy.

This Northern Italian asparagus pasta recipe is a delicious version of a typical Venetian way to combine asparagus with pasta.

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.

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.

The Romans even froze asparagus by transporting lots into the Alps and storing them there!

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 and some with both. 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 Italians also use them 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 Parmigiano cheese into it. (vegetarians will need to use a hard cheese made without animal rennet). 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, originally the Langhe region. It is popular throughout the North. Robiola is usually made from cow and/or goat cheese, depending on the type of Robiola. It’s wonderful with bread and honey! This cheese is often added to risotto or pasta dishes. 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 in Predazzo, a town 1,000 metres above sea level. 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 asparagus pasta 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!

Other pasta recipes with asparagus

  1. Poached salmon and asparagus lasagna
  2. Italian shrimp and asparagus farfalle

Northern Italian asparagus pasta recipe with green asparagus

This recipe was first published in 2018 but has been updated.

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Italian asparagus pasta

5 from 13 votes
Italian asparagus pasta recipe from Northern Italy
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

A Northern Italian asparagus pasta dish that is so delicious and creamy, you'll wish asparagus season lasted longer!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Northern Italy
Keyword: asparagus, fusilli, pasta, robiola
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
  • 320 g fusilli or eliche pasta (11-12oz)
  • 400 g fresh green asparagus (14oz) washed and stalk ends removed
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 1-2 zucchini
  • 200 g robiola cheese (7oz) you can also use stracchino or cream cheese
  • 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano (2oz) grated (for vegetarians use a hard cheese made without animal rennet)
  • salt for pasta/asparagus and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Peel the garlic and onion and chop the onion finely. Wash the asparagus and break off the hardest part of the stalks. Chop the parsley and cut the zucchini into small cubes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet ( big enough to hold the pasta and sauce later) Add the onion and garlic and soften for 5 minutes. 

  3. Add the zucchini cubes to the garlic and onion with a ladle of water and a pinch of salt, mix and then cook covered over a moderate flame for 10 minutes. 

Cook the asparagus
  1. In the meantime, cook the asparagus in plenty of salted water for about 10 minutes (until al dente/ still a bit firm). When they are ready, drain them but keep the cooking water to be used to cook the pasta in.

  2. Now cut the asparagus in two, keeping the spears aside. Blend the asparagus stalks with a little of the cooking water in a food processor or blender. Put the blended asparagus in a bowl.

Finish the sauce
  1. Then blend the mixture of zucchini, onion and garlic. Mix the 2 sauces together in and return the sauce to the frying pan. 

  2. Add the robiola, some of the Parmigiano (or other hard cheese) and most of the parsley. Mix everything on a low heat until the robiola has melted. Add salt and pepper to taste and some of the asparagus spears. 

  3. You can make the sauce more creamy with a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water once the pasta has been cooked if you want to.

Cook the pasta
  1. If necessary add more water to the asparagus cooking water and bring to the boil. Cook the pasta in this water until al dente according to the instructions on the packet.

Finish the dish
  1. Drain the pasta and add it to the asparagus sauce. Mix the pasta and sauce together well and serve with the remaining asparagus spears, more grated cheese, black pepper and a sprinkling of chopped parsley. 

Recipe Notes

This recipe can also be made with other short pasta such as penne.

If you can't find robiola cheese you can also use stracchino or cream cheese.

Want to know more about my life in Italy? Go to the homepage and subscribe to my newsletter. New subscribers get a free recipe e-book too! https://www.the-pasta-project.com

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Italian asparagus pasta

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16 Comments

  • Avatar
    Bernice Hill
    February 26, 2020 3:04 am

    hahaha that is a long way to go to get something out of the freezer!! I love asparagus with risotto and pasta…and I can’t wait to have some fresh this spring!

  • Avatar
    Chef Dennis
    February 25, 2020 9:51 am

    This Italian asparagus pasta recipe looks really scrumptious! It makes me crave so much for it right now!

  • Avatar
    Gemma
    February 25, 2020 1:43 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever had asparagus with pasta but now I’m so intrigued to see what it’s like! Thanks so much for sharing xo

  • Avatar
    Elaine
    February 24, 2020 11:36 pm

    This is a great pasta recipe to keep handy – quick, easy and must be so flavorful! I’ve just got to buy some asparagus, and I am ready to try it. And it was nice to find out more about Robiola cheese!

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  • 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!

  • Avatar
    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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