Asparagus and Blue Cheese Pasta Salad
I make this salad every year when the asparagus is at its most plentiful. It makes a large batch, but it doesn’t last long. Asparagus and blue cheese are really made for each other – the salty tang of the cheese perfectly counterbalancing the fresh green crunch of the young shoots. This is an ideal and very simple early summer salad.
500g mezze penne or penne pasta
3 bunches slender asparagus (about 750g), cut in segments the same length as the pasta
1 small red onion, diced
150g Danish blue cheese, crumbled
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Optional: 1 small bunch chives, thinly sliced, and/or 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
Cook pasta in a large pot of well-salted water. When the pasta is nearly al dente (about 9 mins depending upon the brand of pasta), add the asparagus to the same pot, and cook 3-4 minutes until just done. Drain the whole lot in a colander and cool quickly under running cold water so that it doesn’t cook further. I then transfer the whole lot back to the pot to mix it all up. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together.
Served fresh, the flavours are sprightly and the onions strong. The onions will mellow on the next day, as will the lemon flavour. From the salad’s second day of life, serve it up with a wedge of lemon to restore its bright citrus character.