This recipe has been modified from Chic Simple Cooking, by Kim Johnson Gross/Jeff Stone. It’s not a gluten free cookbook, but it’s one of my favourites. For the authors, this recipe is an addiction. Every week they go to the same restaurant (Lucky Strike in Soho) and order the same dish. “We eat it in 5 minutes,” says Kim, “and basically lick the bowl with our bread.” I have been making this recipe – or modified versions of, for many years now, and feel exactly the same. You will love this if you like oil based pastas, rather than cream or tomato. A great mid-week meal.


The chilli flakes and lemon juice are the key ingredients to making this dish work (in my opinion. Mind you I do have chilli on toast for breakfast so just add the chilli in micro amounts and taste test if you’re not sure). It takes about half an hour to get ready, and serves 2 – 4 adults. I use San Remo gluten free pasta – my personal favourite. If you don’t like or don’t have asparagus, I’ve used broccoli or peas before – which both work pretty well.


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 or 4 slices proscuitto or pancetta, chopped into little pieces
2 – 3 bunches asparagus, break off the woody stems and cut the remainder into quarters
3/4 cup chicken stock
250g penne (which is about a whole boxful)
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 small bunch chives, chopped into 3cm pieces
1/4 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes

What to do

Cook the pasta: bring a large pot of water to boil.

Make the sauce: heat a large saucepan over low heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, and crushed chilli flakes, and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Then add the chopped proscuitto and cook for a minute or two.

Add lemon juice, asparagus, and chicken stock and raise heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until asparagus is al dente, about 1- 2 minutes. Don’t overcook it – the asparagus will lose it’s beautiful crunchy greenness.

Serving it up: add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the asparagus mixture. Just prior to serving, add pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and chives. Salt & lots of black pepper to taste.

Lick the bowl after eating.