1 small bunch basil , leaves and stalks finely chopped
2 x 400 g tinned plum tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch asparagus
500 g fresh tagliatelle
extra virgin olive oil , to serve
Parmesan cheese , to serve
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As kids love pasta and tomato sauce, this is an easy way to encourage them to try asparagus. Like the ‘full of veg’ tomato sauce you can always whiz the asparagus in a blender if you think they’ll be suspicious of the green bits.
The tomato does a good job of mellowing the flavour of the asparagus and once they’re used to eating it there are loads of wonderful dishes you can introduce them to.
Heat a saucepan over a medium heat and add a nice lug of olive oil. Add the garlic and fry until it turns a light golden brown. Add the chopped basil stalks and tinned tomatoes, and bring to the boil. Season with pepper and a tiny pinch of salt, then simmer for 5 minutes.
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus stalks and throw them away. You can either chop the asparagus finely with a knife or use a food processor. Add it to the tomato sauce, let it simmer for 1 minute or so, then take it off the heat. Taste, and add a little salt and pepper if needed. Finish off the sauce by stirring in the basil leaves.
Cook the tagliatelle according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss in the pasta sauce with a little of the water to loosen. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and plenty of Parmesan cheese.