Casarecce pasta recipe with asparagus, chilli, pancetta and garlic

Neil Perry
Casarecce pasta with asparagus, chilli, garlic and pancetta.
Casarecce pasta with asparagus, chilli, garlic and pancetta. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy

Casarecce is a short pasta which has been rolled and twisted. If you can't find it, fusilli or farfalle will also work well, but the simplicity of this dish means almost any pasta is suitable.

Ingredients

​2 bunches asparagus

500g casarecce pasta

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 eschallots, finely diced

1 tbsp red chilli flakes 

120g pancetta, finely diced

sea salt 

freshly ground pepper

small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

grated parmesan, to serve

Method

1. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus. Slice asparagus into pieces about the same length as the pasta.

2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Toss pasta in a little oil (about 1 tbsp) to keep from sticking together.

3. In a saucepan large enough to fit all the pasta and asparagus, add remaining oil, garlic, chilli flakes, eschallots and pancetta with a pinch of salt. Place on a medium-low heat until the ingredients begin to sizzle, flavouring the oil. 

4. After a minute or so, add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water, along with the asparagus. Cook gently until the asparagus is al dente, about 4-5 minutes, adding a little more pasta water as necessary to create a sauce.

5. Add pasta, a good grind of pepper and chopped parsley to the sauce, tossing quickly to coat the pasta and warm it through. Serve immediately with parmesan and an extra drizzle of oil.