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Asparagus Malloredus

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A recipe of my own creation, very Italian nonetheless. Quickly prepared, this makes an ideal romantic dinner soaked with enough Cognac to guarantee the meal will meet a successful outcome! I even list a most exquisite & highly appropriate musical accompaniment.

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This is another recipe of my own invention, not that I have any claims to originality. You will find many variations of this. My friend Zed omits the Cognac and adds some Parma ham. But it is a really delicious and delicate dish, prone to reconcile anybody with asparagus. The alcohol in the Cognac leaves the pan for a better world before it reaches your plate, so it is fit for even the strictest T-totaller.

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You can make this in a few minutes time with only a pot of boiling water and a saucepan. Here I prepared it on a week night right next to my stove with only minimal tools.

Asparagus Malloreddus
For 4 as a romantic main course
1 bunch green asparagus
500gr / 2 lbs malloreddus pasta or another short, durum wheat, bronze extruded, dry pasta
1 glass / 0.5 cup heavy cream or mascarpone
1 glass Cognac
1 tbsp butter
100gr Parmesan, if possible freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

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Cut the asparagus right where you draw the line between edible and disposable.

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If in doubt, cut then at one third from the bottom.

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Fill your largest pot with water, add salt and bring to the boil.

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Delicately immerse the asparagus in the boiling water and leave until almost cooked through but not quite, about 4 minutes. If in doubt, undercook. You can always catch up later, but there is no uncooking an overcooked asparagus.

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Fish the asparagus out with a sieve...

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... and transfer to a cutting board. Cut in 5cm / 2'' segments. Cover the pot again and increase the heat. Do not throw the water out or you'll have to heat up another pot of water, which is bad both for your karma and for your guests who will have a longer wait.

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Take out your fanciest pan and melt a tablespoon butter over medium heat. The pan maketh the chef - does it really? If you have only mundane pans, no worry, proceed just the same and transfer the finished pasta to a serving dish or plates.

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In they go (my signature shot with the vertical plate above the pan, I guess!).

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Sauté in the butter, tossing from time to time.

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