21 October 2010

Creamy Lemon & Asparagus Pasta

I love asparagus.  Those bright green spears are here for such a short time but so worth the wait and such a taste of longer days, BBQs and Summer just around the corner.

Asparagus Likes: butter, hollandaise sauce, toasted bread crumbs, garlic, seafood, smoked salmon, prosciutto (simple blanched and wrapped in prosciutto is delicious), tarragon, dill, parsley, thyme, chives, anchovies, capers, olives, broad beans, zucchini and artichoke.

Asparagus also loves a soft boiled egg...

Served simply steamed with a soft boiled egg for breakfast, just perfect.

Again thanks to Epicurean Supplies for the giant bunch of beautiful asparagus.  My new donna hay magazine also arrived  with it's stunning bright yellow cover...how gorgeous is that.

Full of Spring cooking inspiration and of course some asparagus.  It is Labour Weekend here in NZ on the weekend and a dozen or so friends round for a BBQ.  Fingers crossed for sunshine.  On the menu barbecued butterflied leg of lamb, possibly with lots of rosemary and garlic and thinking the perfect side could be some asparagus with Pecorino and Lemon Dressing courtesy of donna hay magazine.

Asparagus with Pecorino and Lemon Dressing
Serves 2, but easy enough to double or triple up to serve a few more.
Place one tbsp of lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon zest, 1 clove garlic, crushed and 1/4 cup shave Pecorino in a bowl and toss to combine.  Use to top asparagus, trimmed and blanched just for a moment or 2.  How easy is that?  Reckon it will go a treat with the lamb.

This pasta dish also caught my eye.  Creamy Asparagus and Lemon Pasta.  Light, yet creamy, so just a hint of indulgence which is always good, and of course asparagus.

Creamy Asparagus and Lemon Pasta

Serves 4

400g linguine (I had spaghetti in the pantry so used that)
340g asparagus sliced length ways, use a vegetable peeler for long thin ribbons.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup, 240g sour cream
1/2 cup, 125 ml lemon juice, I added some zest too, hard to break the habit and I love it!
1/3 cup, 80ml chicken stock (Or vegetable stock would work too)
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup, finely grated Parmesan plus extra, to serve
3/4 cup basil leaves


Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, remember it should taste like the sea.  Cook according to the packet instructions.  I actually like to do a moment or 2 less to keep it al dente, with just a little bit of bite.  Plus it will keep cooking while combing with the sauce.
Add the asparagus in to the saucepan with the pasta for the last couple of minutes.  Drain and return to the pan to keep warm.
Heat a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the oil and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the sour cream,lemon juice (and zest), stock, salt and pepper and mix until well combined.  Add the pasta and asparagus to the pan with the Parmesan and basil leaves and mix to combine.  Top pasta with extra Parmesan to serve.

Creamy, light and lemony.  A perfect Spring dinner that can be rustled up in no time at all, pretty much as long as the pasta takes to cook.  With a simple green salad and a nice wee chilled glass of pinot gris, delicious and Spring on a plate.



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