Ham and asparagus pasta nests
An impressive pasta bake that will knock friends' and family's socks off.
For the pasta
For the Béchamel sauce
For the asparagus sauce
For the nests
To make the pasta, place the flour into a food-processor and pulse. Add the eggs one by one and keep pulsing for 2–3 minutes, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute (it should be quite stiff and hard to knead). Wrap in kitchen film and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the Béchamel sauce. Heat the milk in a small saucepan and melt the butter in a separate pan over a medium heat. Add the flour to the melted butter and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes. Tip the hot milk into the flour stirring continuously. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Leave to cool until ready to serve.
To make the asparagus sauce, place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Fry the asparagus and garlic for 2–3 minutes.
Heat the stock in a small pan. Melt the butter in a separate pan over a medium heat. Mix the flour into the butter and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the hot stock and add the asparagus. Leave to cool.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Roll out the pasta into a large circle (about 40cm in diameter and as thin as you can make it). Carefully cook the pasta round for 1–2 minutes and then drain on a tea towel.
To assemble the nests, spread half the cooled Béchamel onto the pasta, top with the mozzarella, ham and 4 tablespoons Parmesan. Roll into a log shape and wrap in a tea towel. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Pour half the asparagus sauce into a deep baking dish. Slice the pasta roll into 9 pieces and place into the dish. Spoon over the remaining asparagus sauce and all the Béchamel. Sprinkle with Parmesan and black pepper and bake for 20–30 minutes, or until browned on top. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan and serve.