Friday, March 20, 2015

“Spaghetti with Asparagus Tips” For The First Day Of Spring!

We have “sprung ahead” for daylight saving time and now spring begins today March 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm EDT. The first day of spring, also known as the Vernal Equinox, is when the Sun crosses the equator from North to South signaling the beginning of our spring season in the Northern Hemisphere.

But, I don’t think Mother Nature has received the memo that winter is leaving us for another year. There is a cold snap and a snow storm on its way to blast us one last time. (I hope) Yet another round of snow is set to strike the Northeast with between three and six inches of snow expected to fall between West Virginia and Massachusetts. Everyone is dreaming of spring, temperatures rising, budding trees, flowers pushing through the earth, and the promise of new birth.

Many cultures celebrate spring festivals and holidays around the March Equinox, like Easter and Passover. Christians celebrate Easter during the spring season to glorify Christ’s resurrection and a metaphor for rebirth of nature or new life. Eggs are traditionally a symbol of fertility and growth. This is why Easter eggs are so popular at this time of the year.

According to folklore the first day of spring is the only time of the year that you can balance a raw egg on its end. The egg legend got its start in 1945 when a reporter for Life Magazine wrote a story about a Chinese ritual in which people stood eggs on its end the first day of spring. The truth is that you can balance a raw egg any other day of the year. The pull of gravity or the position of the Sun has nothing to do with it. But it is fun to try. I remember when my brothers and I were young, we tried to balance the eggs one first day of spring. But we had to balance them at the exact moment spring arrived. We would look at the clock and take our raw egg to the kitchen table and then try to balance it. Sometimes, all three of us would get real close, but then it would roll the other way. A few times they cracked and raw, gooey eggs would be on the table. Needless to say it really didn’t work, but the fun and laughter we had will be a memory that will last forever.

This year some people around the world will have the chance to experience a total Solar Eclipse, Supermoon, and the Spring Equinox all in one day. We in the United States will not be able to see a total eclipse. A much larger portion of the world gets to see varying degrees of a partial solar eclipse (Greenland, Iceland, Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East and Northwestern Asia). The next time that the equinox will happen at the same time as a solar eclipse in 2053 and 2072, though it does not always appear as close together as that. If you would like more info on these experiences, there is a website that I always use called Space Weather. They are a wonderful website that shows photos of the Northern Lights as well as anything to do with weather in space, which really at times affects us on earth. Just click on Space Weather and the link will take you there. 

There are many things that spring time is known for. It is a prelude for summer to clean up your garden to get ready for planting and enjoying your backyard for relaxing in the warmer weather. There are many events and holidays that fall in Spring time, to name a few Major League Baseball starts, Spring fashions, Earth Day, Easter Sunday, Passover and of course Mother’s Day.

At this time of the year it seems that we all are getting tired of winter vegetables.  Some fruits and vegetables reach their peak in the spring. To name a few of my families favorites which are Artichokes, Asparagus, Fennel, and Beets. I have a recipe that I know you will love. It is a real favorite of my family. It is called “Spaghetti with Asparagus Tips.” Please try it as it is easy and very nutritious for you. Asparagus has a lot of vitamin K. I know that you will enjoy this recipe and make it a favorite in your house too. Asparagus grows wild, thin, and tall in Umbria, Italy. There are many favorite ways to prepare it, including grilled, marinated in salads, and combined with spaghetti. In this dish only the asparagus tips (punte) are used; save the slender stems to use in soups or sautéed with other vegetables.

Spaghetti with Asparagus Tips” or “Spaghetti con Asparagi

Serves: 6

1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed, & tips cut 1-inch long
6 large plum tomatoes, peeled, & cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
Freshly fresh black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup reserved cooking water
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus extra for sprinkling on top

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the cooked spaghetti (at least 12-inches in diameter). Stir in the garlic and asparagus and cook until they begin to brown slightly. Stir in the tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper, lower the heat, and cover the pan and cook the mixture for 5 minutes or just until a knife is easily inserted into the asparagus tips. Keep the sauce warm while the spaghetti is cooking. Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil in a pasta pot. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt and spaghetti. Cook until the spaghetti is al dente, firm but cooked through. Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the water and spaghetti to the pan with the asparagus sauce. Over medium heat, reheat the mixture, stirring quickly to blend all the ingredients. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and stir in. Transfer the spaghetti and asparagus sauce to a platter and serve immediately. Pass extra cheese for sprinkling on top. Enjoy & Happy Spring!


Ciao a tutti, I know that my readers have heard of my personal friend Micheal Castaldo. I have written about Micheal before on my blog posts. He is an Award-winning song writer/producer, recording artist, composer, Italian Cultural Ambassador, and entrepreneur. Micheal is very proud and excited to announce his radio tour. All these radio programs and DJ personalities (in the poster below) will share his new digi single, "Everything Happens For a Reason." Please follow Micheal on this tour and hear some behind the scenes stories. He will reveal one unique story for every show, so stay tuned to hear the story unfold. There will be more radio interviews set up during the month of April and will create a new flyer to include those dates/times etc. Micheal thanks all of his fans for their awesome support and love.  


***** An add on WROC at 9am EST on 3/22 With Michael Moran and “The Italian Carousel” with Joe Capogreco


Recipe taken from “Ciao Italia” 

Till Next Time……………….

Copyright © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Good afternoon Dottie ,
    Your post and Spring and traditions of different cultures are unique , you pointed out so many things I am sure some didn't know or had forgotten .
    For me , I forgot the balancing of the egg. I tried it as a child but it didn't work for me (giggling) but as you said it was a lot of fun , it took so little to entertain us when we was younger , now it's all kind of different gadgets , nothing in life is simple anymore . (that's progress ).

    The spaghetti with asparagus tips sounds delightful delicious , must try it soon the ingredients works so well together .

    Thanks for the update on Michael , maybe he will come this way one day . (just a thought)
    Thanks so much for sharing my friend and have a great and hopeful dry weekend . :) Nee

    1. Dear Nee,
      Sorry I have not gotten back to you...Stayed at my parents this issues...But I am back now...thanks for stopping over and your comment. Happy Spring! I am glad that you enjoyed this post and recipe. I also am glad that we were not the only ones that tried the egg balancing. I have to laugh each time I think about that much fun and like you said it took so little to entertain us and you are correct life was much simpler then. But now we have the memories. Oh yes, this recipe is fabulous and so fresh to eat. You must try it. So glad that you liked my update on Micheal...yes he is going strong and this radio tour will be a great way to introduce his new single. Let me tell you it is amazing! ..I do hope that he can get your way someday...
      Hope that you have a splendid week dear friend.
      Dottie :)

    2. Dear Dottie,
      No problem , just glad to know you are okay . Some times it good to get away , I do hope your dear family is well .
      I find that simple things amuses my kids , an old tire tied to a rope and tied to a tree limb for a swing .
      Kids don't need all those expensive gadgets , put them outside in the fresh air . When it's hot the like to read and the older ones is interested in surfing the we . You know hubby had parental controls on them .
      Glad to hear from you . Take care and have a wonderful week . Nee :)

    3. Thanks Nee, I promise I will get to your blog asap! I was writing my blog post for tomorrow, that I post tonight. So I am backed up again..But thanks for understanding...yes all is ok , my dad was not feeling too well, but all is ok now...and you are correct...the kids now a days need to get outside more and run around, it keeps them going. the best was when I used to send my son out to play even if it was cold, and he would come back in with his cheeks all red and rosey...That you knew he was getting fresh air and had a great time. Too many tech things that are in play today... Have a good and blessed week my friend...:) Dottie

  2. I am so sorry I haven't been over to comment Dottie! I am so behind on everything, so I hope you don't take it personally.

    It's so funny that the first recipe I see is with asparagus because my Zia Francesca was telling me about a recipe she just made with asparagus and pasta, last week! Unfortunately, I had to tell her I don't like asparagus, but I could always make the same recipe (like yours, too) and omit it and even put another veg in it's place. I have to admit, it does look delicious!

    I had to laugh at the egg balancing you talked about and how some eggs broke, that's pretty funny! I'm sure you're glad it's spring, and I hope you get to enjoy some lovely warm temps very soon! Have a lovely Sunday! CC

    1. Dear Christina,
      No need to be sorry, I understand...I also have been busy and behind on things it is just crazy. We try to take on too many things and then we can't see beyond...I know the deal so I would never take it personally. I still have to get to your blog post about the fish.Well asparagus is in season now and I try to use it as much as I can, as it is a great veggie and I love them. Yes you can sub any other veggie in its place. I am always switching veggies around. This dish is really a good one, easy and very fresh, makes me think of spring...Yes, I love that story about the balancing of the eggs, I laugh each time I think about it, many memories.I also hope that soon we will be out of this cold snap. Friday into Sat. we got 6 inches of snow again and the temps were freezing. Maybe Mother Nature will read her email soon and get with the program...Hope that you had a wonderful Sunday too, have a good week...see you on your blog...
      Dottie :)

  3. I am going to Italy in a while and there asparagus are cheaper than in the UK although I must say that the UK ones are really delicious as they are less mass produced. They are a real delicacy.
    My mum makes a really nice lasagna with asparagus and speck with bechamel die for! I cannot wait to get there.
    I still have one grandma left who is 90 and I always look forward to visiting her.
    It is lovely your writing about spring and I have checked the "Space Weather" website... I might go back there, I love anything to do with space.
    I wish you a good week Dottie and thank you for this delicious spaghetti recipe. Ciao!

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for your comment. How wonderful another trip back home to Italy! Well asparagus is in season now and it is so fresh and delicious. I could eat them every way and everyday. Yummy! That will be nice to get to see your family especially your grandma, God Bless her at 90..That is the Italian stock, they have such strength. Your mum's lasagna sounds splendid with the asparagus and the bechamel sauce. I love that..Hope that you enjoy...Alida I am so glad that you checked out the Space Weather site...I could spend an hours there looking at all the info and the photos. Such interesting stories and info. I love space and weather so this site is perfect. If you sign up with them they will send you an email when something is likely to happen in the sky. Which is great, they can keep you up to date. Thanks for your visit and I hope you as well enjoy your week and your trip back home...Ciao and where I am it is night so Buona Notte...
      Dottie :)

  4. Dear Dottie, I still don't think "Mother Nature" has recieved the memo!! It is very chilly here tonight. Well, perhaps spring will come for Easter.
    The spaghetti with the asparagus tips is a perfect dish for spring.
    Blessings dear Dottie and thank you for your kind words and friendship. xoxo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      I agree, maybe someone should hand it to her in person...Possible snow showers for Saturday I hear? It is cold tonight, Maybe like you said Easter Sunday it will be beautiful...Thanks for your comment and for stopping by...Love asparagus anyway, but this goes so well with the pasta. Have a warm rest of the week..and thank you for your friendship as well...
      Dottie :)