Spring on a Plate: Rigatoni with Asparagus and Prawns

Published May 15, 2013 by The Feminist

When seasons change, so do the vegetables in our garden. Everyone knows you get the tastiest tomatoes in the summer, the biggest pumpkins in the fall and the pinkest rhubarb in the spring. This pasta dish is incredibly delicious thanks to the wonderful sweetness of the white asparagus. For once, I’m actually grateful to live in Belgium, one of the few countries that cultivates these lovely jewels. They are one of my favorite vegetables and I tend to go completely overboard when the asparagus season starts in April, eating white asparagus at least once a week.

Traditionally, they are served with a classic hollandaise sauce or melted butter, but –as always- I try to avoid the traditional recipes and do my own thing. (hell yeah!) Combining the indescribable flavour of the white asparagus with al dente pasta and the sweetness of the prawns, almost makes me lyrical. Since I’m not really gifted when it comes to writing poetry, I thought I would simply post one of my favorite poems by E.E. Cummings to get you in the perfect spring mood before you start cooking…

“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

lovers go and lovers come
awandering awondering
but any two are perfectly
alone there’s nobody else alive

(such a sky and such a sun
I never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)

not a tree can count his leaves
each herself by opening
but shining who by thousands mean
only one amazing thing

(secretly adoring shyly
tiny winging darting floating
merry in the blossoming
always joyful selves are singing)

“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”

I hope you’re all in a fantastic mood after reading this sweet, loveable poem. So get your pots and pans ready, because here’s the recipe:

Rigatoni with white asparagus and prawns

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 350gr rigatoni
• 350gr white asparagus
• 1 broccoli, cut into florets
• 2 shallots, finely chopped
• 30-40 prawns, peeled
• 200ml single cream
• 100ml vegetable stock
• 1 tbsp curry powder
• Fresh parsley
• 3 tbsp mascarpone


1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the rigatoni and cook according to packet instructions.
2. Clean the asparagus and cut them into 2cm pieces. Steam them until they are just tender.
3. Blanche the broccoli florets.
4. Fry the shallots in a some olive oil, add the cream and vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
5. Toss the prawns in the curry powder and some salt and pepper and grill them on a hot grill for one minute on each side.
6. Put all the al dente vegetables, pasta and prawns in the pan with the creamy sauce and stir through the fresh parsley and the mascarpone. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Sprinkle on some grated parmesan and dig in!

8 comments on “Spring on a Plate: Rigatoni with Asparagus and Prawns

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