There’s a beautiful little restaurant high up in Amalfi where the tourists don’t care to venture. This is a good thing. Let them throng by the water’s edge in the packed overpriced ristorantes, trattorias, and osterie. Let them queue for mass produced gelato and garish bottles of limoncello. Let them sit elbow to elbow in their hoards across the tiny squares for we are happy to be far far away. Here, the terrace is cool and shaded. The flimsy lace curtains billow in the breeze offering tantalising glimpses of the kitchen inside – I would really like to cook here so as to better understand what inspires them, to learn family recipes and to savour time. For now, we sit quietly and in wonderment. A simple bowl of a creamy lemon-scented pasta on our table, a jug of cold white wine and the simplest of salads, fennel and orange with a herby vinaigrette.
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
A couple of handfuls of peas (frozen is fine)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
250g mascarpone cheese
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground mixed peppercorns
Handful of pine kernels, toasted
Half quantity of parmesan, garlic, parsley and lemon sourdough pangrattato
How I make it
First make the pangrattato and set aside.
Blanch the peas and asparagus spears in a pan of boiling water for three minutes. Drain and and set aside to cool.
Put a large pan of water on a high heat, salt generously and bring to the boil. Drop the pasta in and simmer for 9-10 minutes until just al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving a ladleful of the cooking water, and return it to the pan. Add the peas, a generous glug of olive oil, the lemon juice and the mascarpone cheese.
Gently mix to combine, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen it up a bit. Season to your taste and gently warm through.
Tumble the pasta onto a warm platter, arrange the asparagus spears and pine kernels over top and drizzle with olive oil.
Garnish with the pangrattato and serve immediately with a classic green salad and a glass of wine.