Pistachio and asparagus penne

A liberal dousing of cream and juicy nuggets of pancetta make Catherine Fulvios quick pasta dish highly luxurious
By Catherine Fulvio
Pistachio and asparagus penne
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 350 g asparagus, cut into 2cm pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil, for frying
  • 70 g white breadcrumbs
  • 450 g penne
  • 100 g pancetta lardons
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 40 g pitted olives, halved
  • 100 g pistachio nuts, chopped


1. In a saucepan of boiling, salted water, blanch the asparagus for about 1 minute, then drain and refresh in ice-cold water.

2. Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the breadcrumbs until golden brown. Drain them on kitchen towel and set aside. Wipe the pan clean.

3. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

4. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in the frying pan and cook the pancetta, red pepper and thyme for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

5. Add the blanched asparagus and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes. Pour in the cream and warm through. Drain the pasta and stir it into the sauce.

6. Sprinkle with the olives, pistachios and toasted breadcrumbs, then season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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