I know I keep saying this every week, but OMG!  This was fantastic!  It’s hard to believe that week-after-week-after-week, the meals just keep getting better.

This has been one of the most wonderful culinary adventures I have ever had the pleasure to partake of.  Pastas of every imaginable style in every imaginable sauce.  This is gastronomic heaven on earth.

Tonight’s feast was another simply-prepared with simple ingredients found in most any home.  Nothing exotic.  Nothing hard to find.

The beauty of most of these recipes has been just that – locally-available ingredients.  Granted, guanciale is not going to be something one finds easily, but pancetta can be used as a substitute – and that can be found almost anywhere.

The goal of this endeavor has been to recreate the recipes exactly as written.  That has not been easy, as both of us are instinctive cooks – adding a bit of this or a bit of that and making a recipe our own along the way.  It’s actually difficult at times to read a recipe and know that a certain ingredient would compliment the dish – and not use it.  But…

Victor chose linguine tonight, but any pasta would work – especially a broad noodle such as papardelle or tagliatelle.

Linguine con Asperagi


  • Fine sea salt
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 14 ounces linguine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut 1½ inches of asparagus tips from stalks. Steam tips for 3 minutes, then cut in half lengthwise. Cut stalks crosswise into ¼-inch rounds.

In a medium saucepan, combine asparagus rounds, shallot and butter; cook over medium heat until butter is melted, then add 1/2 cup water, bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Add cream, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Transfer pan contents to a blender and purée until smooth.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (about 3 minutes for fresh pasta). Reserving ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid, drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl.

Pour purée into a skillet; bring to a boil. Add asparagus tips, cheese and parsley; return to a boil, then add to bowl with pasta and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning and moisten with a little pasta cooking liquid, if desired.

Serve immediately.

I tasted every ingredient.  The asparagus added a fresh flavor with just the right crunch.  The cream and cheese added a richness that worked perfectly.  The linguine held the sauce perfectly.

Victor has now made 14 of the 20 pasta recipes in the magazine.  I need a plan for when he hits recipe 20.

This can’t end.