Monday, April 26, 2010

I Love the Smell of Mercaptan in the Morning: Asparagus, Sorrel and Prosciutto Pasta


And so does Little Locathor.

Mercaptan is a sulfurous compound that exists in onions, garlic, a skunk’s secretion, and asparagus. A very distinctive aroma in the WC (that would be polite shorthand for bathroom)occurs when the digestive system breaks down the compound. Some folks have the gene to break down the substance, others don’t. I do and so does Thor.

We ate our first local asparagus last night, which led to lots of potty talk over dinner about asparagus pee pee. He declared that asparagus is now his favorite vegetable, as he stuffed his mouth with the green logs, pushing aside the pasta I thought was the safe selection on his plate. When his dad asked whether it had supplanted cucumbers as the go-to green veggie, the little smart ass correctly noted "That's a fruit, Dad."

Asparagus, Sorrel and Prosciutto Pasta
Serves 4

1/2 pound linguine or spaghetti
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed (I trim by snapping the ends where they bend - you can use the "waste" to make a lovely soup or for your compost pile)
1 small bunch sorrel (optional, but it gives the dish a nice tangy flavor)
2 slices proscuitto
1 tablespoon fresh chevre

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour in pasta and cook according to the package. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion and asparagus in the butter until the asparagus are almost tender. Add prosciutto and cook for another minute. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Pour a scoopful of pasta water, about 1/2 cup, over the asparagus. Scrape in the sorrel and cover with a lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sorrel is wilted. Remove the lid and cook the liquid down until just about a tablespoon remains. Stir in goat cheese until melted and the sauce is creamy. Add the pasta coating it with the saucet. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve in shallow bowls.

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