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Lemon Asparagus Spring Pasta

March 26, 2012

I recently made this for a quick weeknight dinner and it tasted like Spring on a plate!  It was super simple but so delicious.  Lemon zest is the star here and I would even increase it to 3 teaspoons next time I make this.  I love recipes like this that rely on a few fresh ingredients and pack a ton of flavor.  If you don’t want to buy two bunches of asparagus, use one bunch and add some frozen peas in with the scallions.  Fava beans would be a delicious and seasonal addition as well.

I used fresh linguine which is great for weeknight cooking because it cooks so quickly but you could easily use just about any dried pasta shape.  Fresh pasta is a great staple to keep in the freezer – you pop it into boiling water straight from the freezer and it still cooks faster than dried pasta.  Or, if you’re up for an adventure, make your own pasta!

Lemon Asparagus Spring Pasta
adapted from Deborah Madison
serves 3-4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large bunch scallions, including half the greens, thinly sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 bunches asparagus (about 1.5 pounds), tough ends removed
1 pound fresh linguine
3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over low heat.  Add the scallions, lemon zest and a few pinches of salt and cook slowly, stirring occasionally.

Cut the asparagus tips off and slice the remaining stalks into approximately 1-inch pieces.  When the water comes to a boil, generously salt the water, add the asparagus and cook until partially tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Scoop the asparagus out of the water using a spider skimmer or slotted spoon and add it to the scallions, continuing to cook.  Add the pasta to the water and cook according to package directions.  Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.  When the pasta is done, add to the pan with the scallions and asparagus, letting some of the water cling to the strands.  Raise the heat and stir in the remaining oil and butter, parsley, chives and freshly ground pepper.  Combine using tongs, adding the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen the mixture just slightly.  Divide among plates and top with freshly grated Parmesan.

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