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When Thin is In

Minestra di capelli d’angelo, asparagi e spinaciAngel hair, asparagus and spinach soup

Angel hair pasta is a long, thin noodle with a round shape. It is also known as capellini or capelli d’angelo. This extremely fine pasta is excellent with light, delicate sauces as well as seasonal fresh vegetables or in soup. Several traditional Italian recipes call for angel hair pasta, and the pasta is readily available in most supermarkets. You can also make it by hand, although producing pasta of adequate thinness requires time and patience.

4 cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and sliced on a bias
1/2 lb. spinach
1 lb. angel hair pasta
unsalted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
kosher salt
white pepper
onion chives
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring water or stock to a gentle simmer in a large pot. Add pasta and cook until pasta is al dente — about three minutes if using fresh pasta, or six to eight minutes if using dried. Turn heat down to low.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Briefly sauté asparagus and spinach until vegetables take on a bit of color, about two to three minutes. Check seasoning. When pasta is done, add vegetables and pan drippings. Simmer for an additional five minutes to let flavors blend.

Stir in 1 lightly beaten egg. Check seasoning. Serve immediately, passing grated cheese and herbs at the table.

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