You know spring has arrived when local asparagus starts showing up in the markets. Asparagus is a tender vegetable that is easy to prepare, has virtually no calories, and is full of nutrients.
Choose stalks that are straight and have closed, compact tips. Try to pick uniform stalks so they cook evenly. Some people prefer to lightly peel the stalks but it really isn’t necessary. Like all fresh fruits and veggies, asparagus is best enjoyed immediately after being harvested. But if stored properly it should last 2-3 days in the fridge. Wrap a damp paper towel or plastic around the tips, trim ¼-inch from the bottoms, and store upright in a container with 1” – 2” of cold water.
This recipe is a lightened version of an Alfredo-style pasta. The lemon zest and juice give it a bright flavor…add more if you’d like! Be sure to start with fresh, locally grown asparagus.
Creamy Asparagus Pasta
1 lb. linguini
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
4 teaspoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add asparagus and continue cooking until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, 3 minutes more. Drain and return to the pot.
Meanwhile, whisk milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tarragon, lemon zest and juice.
Stir the sauce into the pasta-asparagus mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sauce is thick, creamy, and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top with the remaining Parmesan. Adapted from www.eatingwell.com
Per serving : 359 Calories; 10 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 18 mg Cholesterol; 55 g Carbohydrates; 18 g Protein; 7 g Fiber; 602 mg Sodium; 467 mg Potassium