Asparagus Sauce with Sage and Tomatoes


Springtime Asparagus Sauce with Sage and Tomatoes

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This asparagus sauce, fresh, vibrant, and bursting with flavor, is perfect to celebrate the arrival of spring. For this recipe, we're using tender asparagus spears, juicy cherry tomatoes, fragrant sage, and a touch of butter to create a luscious sauce that perfectly coats your favorite pasta. It's a simple yet elegant combination that's sure to impress your loved ones.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2


  • Sauté pan
  • Knife
  • cheese grater
  • Pot for water with lid


For the sauce

  • 500 g asparagus - white bottom snapped off, stem cut in small rounds, tips whole (or halved if very thick)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes - halved
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To finish the dish

  • 180g g pasta - of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese - grated
When buying asparagus, look for firm and straight asparagus spears with firm and tightly closed tips. Avoid any spears that are wilted or with tips that have signs of moisture. If possible, buy locally grown asparagus that is in season. It will be fresher and more flavorful than asparagus that has been shipped long distances. It is best to cook and eat asparagus soon after purchase.


Prepare the asparagus

  • Clean the asparagus:
    - Trim off the tough woody ends of the asparagus spears. You can do this by hand, snapping off the bottom end individually; simply bend the asparagus gently until it naturally breaks, you’ll feel it. If you don’t want to go one by one, you can cut off the tough, white-ish ends all at once; line the asparagus on a cutting board and trim off the tough ends with a knife. Remove about an inch or slightly more from the bottom of each spear.
    - Rinse the asparagus under cold running water to remove any dirt or sand.
    - If the asparagus spears are particularly thick, you may also want to peel them. Use a vegetable peeler to gently peel away the tough outer layer of the asparagus, starting from just below the tip and working your way down to the trimmed end.
  • Cut the asparagus:
    - Leave about a 7 cm / 3 inch tip. Keep them whole.
    - Cut the spears into rounds, about 2 cm / 3/4 inch long.
    Try to cut the asparagus rounds into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. This helps maintain consistent texture in the final dish.

Make the asparagus sauce

  • In a sauté pan, add extra virgin olive oil, butter, halved tomatoes and the sage. Sprinkle with salt and cover with a lid.
  • Turn the heat to low and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the butter has melted. Add the asparagus rounds, spreading them well into the pan, covering the bottom. Top the rounds with the asparagus tips, making sure they don’t touch the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with a lid. Turn the heat on medium and cook for about 5 minutes.
    TIP: We’ll be cooking both the rounds and the tips together in the same pan, but looking for different techniques: we want to steam the tips and sauté the rounds. To achieve this result, it’s important to follow the steps below.
  • After 5 minutes, check the asparagus tips, if they are steamed and tender but yet still crisp, remove them and set aside in a small bowl. They don’t need much time to cook. 
  • Check the asparagus rounds. They are cooked when piercing them with a fork there's a slight resistance. If they’re still firm, allow them to cook for a few  more minutes. When ready, turn the heat off. 
    TIP: We want the tomatoes and the asparagus rounds to be steamed and not overcooked, keeping their freshness. Once the veggies are softened, turn the heat off. Your sauce is ready!

Cook the pasta

  • Bring a pot of water to boil with a lid on. Once the water is boiling, add coarse sea salt and the pasta, stirring a couple of times to prevent pasta from sticking.
  • Check the cooking time and cook a minute less to have pasta al dente. Just before draining the pasta, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and turn the heat back on to low on the pan with the sauce.
  • Drain the pasta and transfer to the pan with the asparagus sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water and toss for about 30 seconds over low heat.
  • Turn the heat off and add the parmigiano cheese and toss very well with the sauce.
Add more pasta water (a tablespoonful at a time), if needed, to thin the sauce. Serve immediately.


  • If asparagus is not in season or unavailable, you can substitute it with other vegetables such as zucchini or green beans. 
  • For a crunchy taste, add some crispy pancetta on top of your dish.
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