Photograph: Tara Fisher
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 5 free-range eggs
- 100 g pecorino cheese, finely grated
- 300 g dried penne pasta
- 250 g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 4cm pieces
- 14 g basil, leaves only, shredded
- 2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat and gently soften the garlic for a couple of minutes. Set aside.
Separate 4 eggs reserving the egg whites for another recipe. Whisk together the 4 egg yolks, 1 whole remaining egg and two-thirds of the grated cheese in a small bowl. Add the garlic and season with lots of black pepper.
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water, according to pack instructions. Add the asparagus for the last 3 or 4 minutes. Drain, saving half a mugful of the cooking water. Return the pasta and asparagus to the pan and add the egg and cheese mixture, stirring constantly. Add enough of the reserved cooking water – about 4 tablespoons – to create a creamy sauce that coats the pasta; stir in the basil. Scatter with the pine nuts and serve with the remaining cheese. Note: this recipe contains raw/partially cooked eggs
Kitchen secret: if a baconless carbonara seems too much of a travesty, chop and fry a few rashers of streaky bacon before adding the garlic to the pan.