The other night, I knew I wanted to use the delicious asparagus in my fridge, and I also thought pasta would be the easiest thing to toss it in. I originally thought I would just buy a jar of alfredo sauce and call it a day, but I decided to try to whip something up that would be a little lighter and brighter. I pulled this together, and let me tell you, it was tricky keeping myself from adding garlic and salt, but I DID IT, and came up with something that tastes different than anything I would normally make with asparagus and pasta. It's like I'm finally growing up or something!
Lemony Asparagus Pasta
1 box of pasta (I used penne)
1 lb. of asparagus
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice and zest of one large lemon
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Black pepper to taste (I used very very little)
Optional: cooked chicken to toss on top
1. If you are going to add chicken to this recipe, cook it up in your preferred method, because the rest of this process takes like 15 minutes, tops.
2. Bring big pot of water to boil and add pasta. Under-cook by three minutes.
3. While the pasta cooks, chop the ends off the asparagus and cut into about two-inch pieces.
4. When the pasta is three minutes away from being cooked, toss the asparagus in and cook the final three minutes. Asparagus should stay bright and not get mushy, so two minutes is fine, too.
5. In a large bowl, toss in the cup of Parmesan cheese and zest the lemon on top.
6. Strain the pasta and asparagus, throw in with the cheese, toss the olive oil on top, and juice your lemon on top of it all. Stir well, shake (or grind) a little black pepper on top, give it a final stir, and done! If you're adding chicken, stir it in or toss it on top, and you're all set.
If I were making this for only myself, I wouldn't have added the chicken, but I didn't want to see Jeremy's fake smile when dinner was just pasta and veggies! :) It was delicious and simple. The cheese was nice and melty, and I think lemon is just the perfect compliment for asparagus.
If you try this or make variations, be sure to post your changes in the comments!