Asparagi alla Milanese – The Incredible Pairing of Asparagus and Eggs

Of simple Italian recipes that are almost unknown outside of Italy, Milanese-style Asparagus would probably rank near the top. This dish, traditionally associated with the city of Milan, is enjoyed all around Italy as a second course, especially in late spring, when asparagus is in season.

Before getting to the recipe, let’s spend a few words on its main ingredient. Asparagus is one of the shoots of a perennial plant called Asparagus officinalis, harvested when it reaches a length of about 8 inches and hasn’t yet developed any branches. If allowed to grow, the shoots become inedible – they gradually thin out, harden, and develop fern-like branches, up to 1.5 meters tall. Indigenous of Eurasia, Asparagus officinalis was already known in ancient Egypt, when it was eaten raw. The Greeks and the Romans are credited for learning how to cultivate it and for discovering its diuretic properties.

In North America, asparagus is mostly used as an appetizer or as a side dish (steamed, fried, or char roasted), as well as in soups and quiches. In Italy, it is also used to make one kind of risotto, in ‘frittate’, as filling for ravioli or just paired up with melted butter, eggs, and Parmigiano as in this recipe.

Asparagi alla Milanese

Yield: 2 servings

Total Time: 15 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Asparagi alla Milanese


  • 1 kg of fresh asparagus, washed and with their bases trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons of Parmigiano, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 eggs
  • salt


  1. Place the asparagus in a pot of salted boiling water, the spears above the waterline to be cooked by the steam. Cook for 10 minutes (15 if the stems are particularly thick). If using a large pot, the asparagus can be tied up to force them to remain vertical.
  2. Just before the asparagus are cooked, fry the eggs in butter, sunny-side-up, in a large non stick pan. Ensure the whites are fully firm, while the yolks are still runny.
  3. Gently drain the asparagus and assemble the dish in warm serving plates by layering the eggs, the asparagus (tips towards the center), and the grated Parmigiano.


9 thoughts on “Asparagi alla Milanese – The Incredible Pairing of Asparagus and Eggs”

  1. Such a simple recipe, yet I've never tried eating asparagus like this! Egg yolk, Parmesan, and asparagus combination must be very delicious. I have to give it a try next time I eat asparagus or eggs (it works either way!). πŸ™‚

  2. You're right, more than a recipe this is really a (short) list of ingredients πŸ™‚ But it does taste amazing, as long as those ingredients are of good quality and cooked properly. Sort of the essence of Italian food πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Paolo, I have just discovered your blog (thanks to Nami of course!) and I love it. I have just enjoyed reading the misspelled words and have seen the lightest coffee picture in my life! I think you would love visiting Italian restaurants in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (where I live). The big majority of the restaurants are Italian and even as a non-Italian I sometimes want to scream when I see the menu.
    Your recipes are very inspiring!
    Actually, I make asparagus with egg and parmesan very often, but I didn't know it was a real Italian dish! (I just love asparagus+fried egg and parmesan… I don't know, something was missing, I opened the fridge and saw parmesan!).
    I envy you asparagus in August! We no longer have them here since July πŸ™

  4. Thanks Sissi for your kind comment and for your feedback on Italian food in French speaking Switzerland πŸ™‚ Yes, we still have asparagus in August, but they taste kind of bland all year round… I'm sure the ones you find have a lot more flavor.

  5. Oh what a delightful yet simple presentation! That's one of my favorite ways to eat anything– dripping with golden egg yolk.

    I always thought this was a French dish though! Probably because of the movie Julie & Julia.

  6. @Eating Deliciously, @sophia, thanks for your comments!

    Sophia, the French eat asparagus with eggs too, but the Parmesan cheese is 100% Italian πŸ™‚

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