Each June in Italy brings Festa della Repubblica – a national holiday celebrating the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946. Across the country there are parades and celebrations reflecting on Italy’s rich history and culture. For food blogger Roberta Castrichella, it’s a day to spend time with family and friends, whether she’s enjoying a relaxed traditional lunch or taking in the festivities at Rome’s Altare della Patria – a monument dedicated to Italy’s unity and freedom, which plays host to a vibrant military parade each year.
To celebrate this important national holiday we asked Roberta to create a quintessentially Italian recipe that would evoke the spirit and taste of the country, and she responded with a delicious pasta dish: spaghettoni with asparagus cream, lemon ricotta and roasted pachino. Using simple, seasonal ingredients alongside flavours that are synonymous with classic Italian cuisine, this is a fresh and tasty dish which incorporates the green, white and red of the Italian flag to create a delicate and unique taste.
8 pachino tomatoes
100g sheep's ricotta cheese
1 organic lemon
20g white onion
Extra virgin olive oil
Cover the baking tray with baking paper. Add the tomatoes, season with extra virgin olive oil, add salt and black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes at 180°C (350°F) in a ventilated oven.
Remove the ends of the asparagus and wash them before cutting them into ¾ cm pieces and steam cooking. When cooked, put them in a frying pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and chopped onions. Add salt and black pepper. Let them season for 2 minutes.
Hold on to two asparagus tips and put the others in the mixer. Mix them together with extra virgin olive oil and the vegetable broth. Blend until you get a smooth cream.
Cook the spaghettoni in salted water.
In a bowl, season the ricotta with a sprinkling of nutmeg and grated lemon peel.
Drain the spaghettoni, season with asparagus cream and garnish with a moderate helping of ricotta cheese and pachino tomatoes. Garnish with black pepper and extra virgin olive oil.