Lemon-Pepper Pasta with Asparagus

{minimal ingredients so the pasta’s flavor can stand out}

This recipe is full of fresh flavor and a cinch to make.   With the on set of warm weather I have been craving foods reflective of  clean, crisp summer eating, so it seemed appropriate to create a dish using just a few wonderfully paired ingredients.   Citrus is a flavor I always love in the warmer months so this lemon-pepper pasta I picked up at the farmer’s market provide the perfect base for a spring time pasta.  If you can’t find this particular pasta, I imagine that using regular pasta (whole wheat or white) would work too for this recipe, but I would ramp up the lemon and pepper flavors by adding more of both to the dish while cooking.  Also, while asparagus is in season currently, the bunch I bought at the grocery by my work was kind of woody, so I really can’t wait to try this with more tender, slender stalks of asparagus. I would probably skip my first step, boiling asparagus, if using more petit stalks. Enjoy! And let me know if you try it!

*this dish was perfectly paired with baked salmon and a lemon, dill, greek yogurt sauce. yummmmm

                    Ingredients: ( when I was cooking for 2  )

                -1/4 lb lemon-pepper pasta

                -1/2 lb fresh asparagus cut into smaller pieces 

                -4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

                -3 slices of lemon

                -1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

                -spinkling of thyme, about 1/2 Tblsp

                -1tsp sea salt

                – shaved parmesan, if desired

To begin I flash boiled the asparagus.  I wanted to give them just enough time to soften, but pulled them out quickly, after about 5 minutes, so that they would still have some snap in the dish. Rinse with cool water and set aside.  Then in a medium sauce pan I began to heat the olive oil, garlic, and lemon slices over a low/medium heat to keep the garlic from browning.  I let these simmer together for about 15 minutes.  When the garlic is soft, and very aromatic, add the asparagus, thyme, and salt.  Let all the ingredients cook together for another 10 minutes or so, then reduce the heat to low/warm and cover.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil and cook the pasta al dente, 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.     Drain pasta.  

While still warm add pasta to the sauce pan with olive oil garlic, and asparagus, removing the slices of lemon with tongs first.  Toss lightly and serve. I garnished our dishes with fresh shaved parmesan.

And now you have a delicious spring inspired dish.

{bon appétit}

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