Spaghetti con Agretti
Like any vegetable that appears in the market for only a few weeks a year, agretti feels like a rare treat. When the weather is such that we can sit comfortably outside for lunch, this makes a great meal: light, but full of flavour, and very easy to make. Just make sure you have cleaned the agretti really well before cooking. Serves 4.
400 grams of good quality spaghetti (we like Mancini or Rummo brands for this dish, as they retain more bite and flavour).
A large bunch (about 300 grams) of Agretti
1 clove of garlic
1 large spring onion, sliced
1 fresh chilli, sliced
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Put a large pot of generously salted water to boil, which you will use both for the agretti and the spaghetti.
Gently fry the clove of garlic in olive oil, until it starts to change colour, then discard. Add the onions and cook very slowly, until translucent (about 10 minutes), and then the chilli. If the onions are drying up too quickly, take off the heat and add a little water from the pasta pot.
Clean the agretti carefully, by cutting the pink and red roots off, soak them in a large bowl (or the sink) in cold water, then wash every single bunch under running water, checking whether there are any roots left to cut off or any hard leaves. (consider that agretti can be eaten raw, so you want to make sure all the leaves are soft).
Timing is crucial now: check the pasta cooking time, then shave off 30 seconds, and put the spaghetti to cook. Once there are 5 minutes left on the clock, add the agretti and cook together, then drain (leaving aside 1/2 a cup of water from the pasta), and pour the spaghetti and veggies in to the onions. Sautee for 30 seconds, tossing well, adding olive oil and a bit of the pasta water if it looks too dry. Take off the heat, add the lemon zest, then taste for seasoning and add a little more olive oil.