Rachel Roddy’s recipe for lasagne, herby spring salad and buttery asparagus | A kitchen in Rome

What goes better with a gorgeous, six-layer classic lasagne than a leafy salad with a sharp dressing and some buttery, new-season asparagus on the side?

I dream of travelling at near light speed in a spaceship constructed of aluminium, titanium and semolina. My mission is to visit every galaxy in the pasta universe. The ship is also built for time travel and can move through different points over 12,000 years; it encounters the evolution of all the 1,300 pasta shapes that Oretta Zanini De Vita identified in her 2009 Encyclopedia of Pasta; also, shapes not invented yet. I eat them all, while wearing a yolk-coloured spacesuit.

Oretta’s phrase voyage in the pasta universe”, part of the introduction that outlines her research (interviewing very old people about pasta-making traditions), was the one phrase I needed to read in the early days of writing my book about pasta. It summed up the sheer scale of the subject, the historical, geographical and cultural matter, the beauty and the black holes. Then it lightened everything, reminding me I was on a fabulous voyage wearing a yolk-coloured spacesuit (or my yellow boiler suit).

UK readers: click to buy these ingredients from Ocado

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