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Burrata with Asparagus, Pine Nuts, and Golden Raisins

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Burrata with Asparagus, Pine Nuts, and Golden Raisins

Burrata with Asparagus, Pine Nuts, and Golden Raisins
Joseph De Leo
Provided by:
total prep
Recipe courtesy of The Cheesemonger's Kitchen by Chester Hastings/Chronicle Books, 2011.

The distinctly Sicilian combination of pine nuts, raisins, and bread crumbs is quickly becoming a classic around the world, used in everything from light pastas with fried sardines and fennel to fillings for swordfish or beefsteak rolls. Here, these flavors are combined in a lovely, light springtime presentation of early April asparagus and fresh Burrata cheese. Saffron, used judiciously, adds a lovely perfume and an elegant effect if the threads are left whole. A thin slice of prosciutto di Parma also would be a welcome addition to this dish, simply served alongside or draped over the top to hide the jewel of a salad hidden underneath.


  • 9 ounces asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins/sultanas
  • 6 threads of saffron
  • 1/2 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 balls fresh Burrata cheese, roughly 6 oz each


  • Cut the woody ends off the asparagus and discard. Blanch the asparagus spears in plenty of salted boiling water for 2 to 4 minutes, or until tender and just starting to give when pinched where the tip begins. Do not overcook! Shock the asparagus quickly in a bowl of ice water, drain, and then dry thoroughly with paper towels. Cut the asparagus on the angle into pieces resembling penne pasta.
  • Soak the golden raisins/sultanas in warm water for 5 minutes to rehydrate and then drain and pat dry with a kitchen towel. In a large bowl, combine the asparagus with the pine nuts, rehydrated raisins/sultanas, saffron, and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Heat ¼ cup/60 ml of the remaining olive oil over a medium heat and add the bread crumbs. Shake the pan vigorously, frying the bread crumbs for about 1 minute, or until light golden and crisp. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Cut the Burrata balls in half and place on individual plates “skin side” down. Divide the asparagus mixture among the Burrata pieces and sprinkle the fried bread crumbs over the top.
  • Drizzle with remaining extra-virgin olive oil and serve cold or at room temperature.
  • Recommended wine pairing: white wine- Vermentino di Gallura, Grüner Veltliner