Roasted asparagus with pancetta

I watched Saturday Kitchen Best Bites a few days ago and they showed a recipe from Jamie Oliver, which looked delicious.

I thought the idea of green asparagus wrapped in pancetta with little red and yellow tomatoes sounded lovely but I had my doubts about the fresh rosemary sprigs. Turns out after I cooked this tonight I was right. The rosemary was simply overpowering and I will leave it out next time I cook this.

Here is Jamie’s recipe as far as I remember from the programme:

24 medium-sized asparagus spears
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 good slices of pancetta or dry cured smokey bacon rashers
4 yellow cocktail tomatoes
4 red cocktail tomatoes
Olive oil
1/2 a lemon
1 knob butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.

Remove the woody ends of the asparagus by bending them at the end and snapping where it clicks naturally. Feel free to boil your asparagus for a minute or so if they are not as tender as they should be. Grab 6 spears of asparagus, sandwich one of the rosemary sprigs and a yellow and red cocktail tomato (pips squeezed out) and roughly torn open and wrap a slice of pancetta around the middle to hold everything in place. Make three more bundles in the same way , and put them into a small roasting tray or pan (with 1/2 a lemon). Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast in the pre-heated oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until the pancetta is crispy. Remove from the oven, add your knob of butter (and squeeze over the juice of your roasted lemon). Season if need be.

I didn’t roast the little parcel in the oven as I slightly overcooked my asparagus, I just threw them in a hot pan and fried them from each side so the pancetta was crispy. I also left out the lemon as I had other plans for my sauce.

We had leftover saltimbocca alla romana from yesterday and I reheated them in the pan with the asparagus parcels. I made a quick sauce out of a 1/4 pint vegetable stock, a large slosh of marsala, some single cream, salt and pepper and cooked it down to a creamy consistency and poured it over small pieces of potatoes, that had been roasting in the oven for an hour or so (until they were golden and crispy).

No picture from the dish as it was so good, by the time I remembered to take a picture it was all gone, so I just posted a picture from the worldcommunity cookbook (thank you!).


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