Asparagus Cream Pasta Sauce

I came across a recipe for this easy asparagus cream pasta a while ago and stuck it into my files with the intention of making it for Easter as it featured asparagus which is one of my favorite spring vegetables. Unfortunately, Easter came and went and I completely forgot about this recipe until I was organizing my recipe files this week. What intrigued me about the recipe is that you cook the asparagus and cut off the tips to save and to toss with the pasta, but you puree the stems with some cream which creates a very subtle yet delicious asparagus sauce. Like most recipes I come across, I made quite a few changes as I thought that asparagus alone with the cream might be too one dimensional so I sautéed up some diced shallots and minced garlic, and I added some lemon, pine nuts and cracked black pepper before serving.

The sauce alone is wonderful ……. thick, creamy, and full of fresh asparagus flavor and I can see myself also using it on some fish fillets or chicken breasts stuffed with asparagus spears in the future. It does contain heavy cream however, so it certainly is not a “diet” dish. In small portions or for special occasions, I think this dish would be wonderful, though it isn’t something I would eat every day. I chose to use a great new pasta I found at Whole Foods recently by the Severino company called Mafaldine, but really, this sauce would work with just about any pasta size or shape I can think of.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2012

Asparagus Cream Pasta Sauce

Yield: Serves 4 - 6

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

A subtle flavored creamy sauce that would be delicious tossed with any pasta shape.

Ingredients:

1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus
1/3 Cup Diced Shallots
2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Heavy Cream
Salt & Pepper
500 Grams of Pasta of Choice
To Serve:
Cracked Black Pepper
Toasted Pine Nuts
Grated Lemon Rind
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Trim the woody ends off of the asparagus spears and cook them in lightly salted water for about 5 minutes until tender.
Cut off the tips, reserve and set aside, then cut the stems into pieces.
In a saucepan, heat the oil and cook the shallots until they are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the cream and chopped asparagus stems and heat over a low flame.
Add the grated Parmesan cheese, and use a hand wand to puree the sauce until it is very smooth.
Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
Keep the sauce warm while you cook the pasta.
Drain the pasta, then toss with the sauce and reserved asparagus tips until everything is heated through.
Serve in individual bowls garnished with pine nuts, lemon rind, and black pepper, and pass additional grated Parmesan cheese at the table if desired.

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food



 

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