The garden begins to bloom with its scent traveling throughout the neighbourhood and we wind our clocks forward an hour so golden light can be enjoyed as we sit outside after work. Spring in Australia fills us with a sense of joy.
But perhaps the most rewarding element of spring is the influx of new season foods that await us at the local farmers market – Asparagus is one of our spring rewards. I love this time of year because I can set my clock by the delivery of Aussie spears to my door with thanks to the Australian Asparagus Council.
Arriving on my doorstep this year were baby green asparagus, green asparagus, and jumbo green asparagus spears. I used the baby greens to create this Baked Eggs in Italian Tomato Sugo with Asparagus, Fennel and Ricotta that I’m sharing with you today, and the other spears were enjoyed gluttonously during the week – including these baked asparagus and parmesan chips.
Lately, I have been making baked eggs cooked in Italian sugo (sauce) whenever I get the chance (read: for breakfast, lunch, dinner). It is the perfect, filling, healthy and satisfying meal, and the delivery of asparagus led me to create the mother of all baked egg dishes with a rich Italian tomato sugo as the base, thinly sliced fennel and chopped parsley around the edge, mounds of fluffy ricotta which bakes to perfection, small bunches of perfectly al dente asparagus spears, and of course, runny eggs!
I truly recommend that you give this one a go as soon as so you can – breakfast, lunch or dinner… you won’t be disappointed.
Baked Eggs in Sugo with Asparagus and Ricotta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 700ml tomato passata
- 1/4 fennel bulb, finely shaved
- 5 heaped tablespoons fresh ricotta
- 2 bunches baby asparagus, wooded ends removed
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh continental parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 5 eggs
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan then add onion, garlic and chilli and saute until onion is translucent. Add the whole bottle of tomato passata along with salt and pepper then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 20 mins or until the acidity of the raw tomatoes cooks out of the sauce.
Transfer the sauce to a large baking dish or large cast iron pan (I used a medium and small cast iron pan) then sprinkle the fennel around the edges of the pan and place the aspargus in small bunches around the pan with the tops sticking out. Dot the ricotta in tablespoon lots around the asparagus and sprinkle with parsley. Make indents in the sauce for the eggs and crack an egg gently into each indent and season with salt and pepper.
Place in the oven for 30 minutes until the egg whites are solid and the yolks still runny (or longer if you like your eggs cooked more).