Creamy Asparagus, Lemon & Walnut Pasta
So what am I going to make myself for dinner?
I opened the fridge and by my standard’s it was pretty bare. A few long ‘fridge life’ items like olives, anchovies, capers and eggs plus a few extended life fresh vegetables like carrots, lemons, and limes. The hubby and I had been away for the weekend, vacationing in Provence (Which I have discovered, he really Really REALLY loves). I had used up most of the perishables before leaving.
Fortunately, my culinary saving grace occurred as we were returned home on the beautifully winding roads through the French Alps.
Shortly before hitting the French/Italian border on the outskirts of a French town called Tallard, we came upon a fairly large country food stand, (I believe) called Michel Philip. (If you’re ever in the area.) They sell an array of products produced by them and others, but all of which are from France.
We picked up a few things: strawberries, asparagus, pears, potatoes and some French pate, and then hopped back into the car for the two hour trek back home. The strawberries and pears were both out of the question as dinner options, nor I wasn’t in the mood for potatoes, eggs or pate’. So asparagus it was!
The hubby was working late last night. So I was preparing dinner while texting with people on Facebook, and then chit chatting with my mother in law over the phone.
About twenty minutes later, I looked at the plate and thought, wow this looks good. I should take a photo!
I tasted it, and thought, wow this taste really good, I should post this. So here it is!
7 oz dried spaghetti
1 lb asparagus spears
1/4 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled
zest of one lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Serves: 2 large portions – Total time: Approx. 20 minutes.
1. Bring a large pot of water to a strong boil. Add salt, followed by pasta. Cook pasta to package al dente time. Set aside about 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta.
2. While water is coming to a boil, cut off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut the remainder of the stalk into 1/3 inch round pieces, ensuring to leave tips in tact. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large pan on medium for about 5 minutes. Add asparagus, salt, pepper and 1/3 cup of water. Cover pan and cook asparagus for 4-8 minutes (still on medium) to desired doneness. Turn off heat and discard garlic.
3. Once pasta is finished or almost finished cooking, puree 1/3 of cooked asparagus (I used an immersion blender and a small bowl) with about 1/4 cup pasta cooking water until smooth. (I try to avoid pureeing the asparagus tips for purely ascetic purposes)
4. Add pureed asparagus back to pan with sliced asparagus. Mix in pasta, lemon zest and more pasta water if needed. Heat on medium low for a minute or two to allow pasta to absurd some of the sauce. Top with chopped walnuts. Serve and enjoy.