In the Kitchen with Sigona’s: Local Asparagus

Warm Asparagus Salad with Burst Grape Tomatoes and Pancetta

Warm Asparagus Salad with Burst Grape Tomatoes and Pancetta IMG_3566_E_smThe pancetta in this dish, combined with the fresh tomatoes and basil, makes for an absolutely delicious side, especially when served with a nice grilled protein, such as fish or chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh asparagus, ends trimmed and stalks sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 4 – 6 oz pancetta, diced
  • 2 Tbsp Sigona’s Traditional Balsamic
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • About 10 oz grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional

Directions: Par-boil the sliced asparagus by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and place immediately in an ice bath. When completely cool, drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the skillet and discard any resulting fat and remaining oil.

To the same skillet, add balsamic, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the tomatoes, shallot, garlic and basil. Cook for about 2 minutes then add the drained asparagus and pancetta. Toss to coat evenly, season with salt and pepper. Cook another minute or two until asparagus is warm. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, if using, and serve.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Sliced Almonds and Fresh Herbs

Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Sliced Almonds and Fresh Herbs IMG_3581_E_smIf you’re looking to spruce up your go-to asparagus side dish, give this recipe a try. Adding fresh herbs, a little lemon juice and almonds will definitely add the flare you’re after. Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh asparagus, ends discarded (option: slice stalks into 2 ½-inch pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, basil, parsley or tarragon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, lay asparagus in the skillet and gently shake to coat all stalks evenly in oil. Cover and cook about 5 to 8 minutes, gently shaking skillet from time to time so make sure all sides of the stalks cook evenly. Asparagus should be bright green and crisp, yet tender, and lightly charred in places. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove pan from heat. Let asparagus rest 1 minute. Toss with the lemon juice and allow to absorb, heating slightly if necessary. Sprinkle in all but a 1/2 teaspoon of the herbs, season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and add on the almonds and reserved herbs. Top with the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

Creamy Fettuccine with Shaved Asparagus and Crimini Mushrooms

Creamy Fettuccine with Shaved Asparagus and Crimini Mushrooms IMG_3541_E_smSometimes the best way to use some of spring’s finest is in a comforting pasta dish. Using fresh pasta makes it so you can have this dish on the table in about 20 minutes. Adapted from Cooking Light. Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Mix it up! Try Sigona’s Wild Mushroom & Sage Oil)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, striped from the stem and lightly chopped, setting about 1/2 tsp aside for sprinkling
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 to 6 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced (about ¼-inch thick)
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 lb asparagus (about 3/4 a bunch), ends trimmed and stalks shaved thin strips using a vegetable peeler, slice heads in half, if desired
  • 1 pkg (about 12 oz) locally made fresh fettuccine Saporito Fine Pasta Co.
  • A splash of half-and-half (about 3 to 4 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 oz crème fraiche, at room temperature

Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, thyme and mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by half (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta. Add pasta to pan; cook 2 minutes. Add asparagus; cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Drain.

Return mushroom mixture to medium-high heat; add half-and-half and zest. Add crème fraiche, season with salt and pepper and then stir mixture together until smooth. Add mushroom mixture to pasta mixture in Dutch oven; toss to combine. Season well with salt and pepper, to taste, and top with additional thyme, if using.

Fresh Asparagus, Simply Done

Skillet-asparagus-IMG_3239_E_sm1What You Need:

  • 1 bunch locally grown asparagus, ends trimmed and discarded
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as Hojiblanca
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Grilled Asparagus: Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill on both sides until just cooked through (about medium-done) and brown char/grill marks appear, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Boiled Asparagus: In a large skillet, bring about 2 inches of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus to the pot in one layer and cook until tender-crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears. Drain. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Skillet Asparagus: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, lay asparagus in the skillet and gently shake to coat all stalks evenly in oil. Cover and cook about 5 to 8 minutes, gently shaking skillet from time to time so make sure all sides of the stalks cook evenly. Asparagus should be bright green and crisp, yet tender, when done. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Steamed Asparagus: Place the asparagus in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam about 3 minutes or until the spears are bright green and tender, yet crisp. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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