Asparagus and lemon sformatini

If you haven’t yet had the delight of experiencing the Italian sformatini then allow me to guide you.

It is basically a set souffle with a light, dreamy texture and the beauty is that you can adapt the recipe with all varieties of seasonal vegetables and cheese.

I have used asparagus and lemon as it works perfectly at this time of the year.


Serves 4

75g butter, plus extra for greasing

8 spears fresh asparagus, cut into thin rounds

1 clove garlic, minced

1 shallot, finely diced

50g flour

2 cups full fat milk

1 Tbsp chives, finely chopped

1 lemon, zest

salt and cracked pepper

grated nutmeg

4 egg yolks

50g freshly grated parmesan, pecorino or aged cheddar


Heat the oven to 180degC.

Grease the inside of four ramekins well with butter and set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter, add the asparagus, garlic and shallots and cook over moderate heat for 4 minutes.

Add the flour and mix well to combine. Cook for a further minute.

Gradually add the milk, stirring as you go so you avoid any lumps. You will end up with a thick, creamy-looking sauce. Remove from the heat.

Add the chives, zest, nutmeg and season well, stir to combine.

Add the egg yolks and cheese and mix well.

Pour into the greased ramekins two-thirds full.

Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. They will rise and colour slightly.

Remove and cool for 20 minutes. During this time they will deflate a little and by allowing them to cool they will easily turn out of the ramekins.

To serve

Run a knife around the rim of the sformatini and turn out on to plates.

Dress with crisp green salad with lemon and olive oil and serve.

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