← Back to Search Results
pan-frying Italian
Pappardelle with Asparagus, Walnuts, and Speck Recipe-2521

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


Pappardelle con Asparagi, Noci e Speck

If you find fresh fava beans at the market, they are great instead of or in addition to asparagus in this dish. We are not used to steaming vegetables; we boil them. If you are used to or prefer steaming, of course you could steam vegetables, like these asparagus, when we call for boiled.

Yield: Serves 6


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • ½ pound asparagus tips, cut in half and boiled until just tender
  • ½ pound mascarpone cheese
  • 2-4 tablespoons whole milk
  • ¼ pound walnuts, minced
  • 1/3 pound speck, cut into cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Soybean oil (or other mild-flavored oil) for the pasta water
  • ¾ pound pappardelle
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter with a spoonful of water in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the sage and cook about 1 minute to flavor the butter. Add the asparagus and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and remove and discard the sage leaves.

2. Use a fork to mash the mascarpone with 2 tablespoons of the milk in a medium bowl. Add more milk if necessary to make a loose sauce. Stir in the walnuts and pour into the pan with the asparagus. Put the pan back on low heat, add the remaining butter, and cook until the condimento is creamy.

3. In a small frying pan, fry the speck for a few minutes until golden and slightly crispy. Add the fried speck to the pan with the mascarpone and asparagus. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a pasta bowl.

4. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Stir in a small fistful of salt and a splash of oil. Add the pappardelle and cook, stirring often, until tender. Reserve a cupful of the pasta water and drain the pappardelle in a colander.

5. Quickly transfer the pappardelle to the pasta bowl. Mix the pasta with the condimento until it is coated, adding enough pasta water so the condimento is a nice, smooth consistency, coating the pappardelle. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately with more Parmesan on the table.


It is boring and tedious to crack nuts, but we find that they’re so much better than the already shelled nuts, which often seem to be old and bitter.

“In Sicily, we eat only the tip of the asparagus. In fact, this is a sign of proper behavior. If you have a good education, the nuns teach you how to eat certain things. They show you which fork to use for eating specific foods. Then there is the drama that says you can use a spoon only when eating soup, not when eating anything else. Even if a pasta shape is miniscule, if it is not in a soup, you must find a way to eat it with a fork.”


© 2005 Wanda Tornabene and Giovanna Tornabene

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving, 1/8 teaspoon added vegetable oil per serving, and 1 1/2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese per serving.

687kcal (34%)
704mg (29%)
48g (73%)
21g (104%)
100mg (33%)
283mcg RAE (9%)
10mg (16%)
116mg (12%)
3mg (17%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

how-to-be-a-domestic-goddess How to be a Domestic Goddess
by Nigella Lawson
125-best-vegan-recipes 125 Best Vegan Recipes
by Maxine Effenson Chuck, Beth Gurney
gluten-free-and-vegan-holidays Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays
by Jennifer Katzinger
the-vegetable-dishes-i-cant-live-without The Vegetable Dishes I Can'...
by Mollie Katzen, Greg Atkinson
unforgettable-desserts Unforgettable Desserts
by Dede Wilson
parents-need-to-eat-too Parents Need to Eat Too
by Debbie Koenig
ham-an-obsession-with-the-hindquarter Ham: An Obsession with the ...
by Bruce Weinstein, Mark Scarbrough
american-masala American Masala
by Suvir Saran
cooking-with-too-hot-tamales Cooking with Too Hot Tamales
by Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger
rosas-new-mexican-table-friendly-recipes-for-festive-meals Rosa's New Mexican Table: F...
by Roberto Santibanez
daves-dinners-a-fresh-approach-to-home-cooked-meals Dave's Dinners: A Fresh App...
by Dave Lieberman
mexican-everyday Mexican Everyday
by Rick Bayless
cook-with-jamie Cook with Jamie
by Jamie Oliver
hot-sour-salty-sweet Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
the-splendid-tables-how-to-eat-weekends The Splendid Table's How to...
by Sally Swift, Lynne Rosetto Kasper
the-deen-bros-take-it-easy-quick-and-affordable-meals-the-whole-family-will-love The Deen Bros. Take It Easy...
by Bobby Deen, Jamie Deen

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?