Lemony Asparagus Pasta

IMG_3539I make pasta at least once a week. It’s comforting and versatile, and I always have some sort of cheese, vegetable, and dried pasta in my kitchen. Recently, I’ve been enjoying this light and lemony vegetarian pasta that celebrates asparagus season. It comes together quickly and makes a lovely meal with a glass of sparkling wine. To ensure that I eat enough greens, I throw a heaping two handfuls into pasta or soup at the last minute. I used arugula, but any not-too-bitter green, like spinach or herbs, would be delicious.

Lemony Asparagus Pasta
1 serving pasta (my favorite kind is spaghetti)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
6 asparagus spears, tough stems discarded, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon cream, optional
About 1 cup chopped greens (2 heaping handfuls)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 heaping tablespoon breadcrumbs, preferably homemade

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and add the pasta. Cook for one minute less than instructed on the side of the pasta box.
  2. While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and asparagus and sauté until the shallots are translucent, the garlic is fragrant, and the asparagus is bright green, about 5 minutes.
  3. When the vegetables are just starting to brown, add the lemon juice and the white wine. Simmer for 2 minutes to reduce.
  4. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, scoop the cooked pasta from the boiling water and add it to the saute pan with the vegetable cream mixture. Do not drain the pasta.
  6. Add the lemon zest, greens, and half of the cheese and stir everything to combine.
  7. Add a big splash of pasta water to the pan and stir until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
  8. Transfer to a serving plate and top with the remaining cheese, breadcrumbs, and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 1.

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