Now that asparagus is in season, it’s time to enjoy the emerald green vegetable in delicious dishes. One of my favorite ways to use this spring sprig is in the following flavorful pasta, adapted from a recipe in Real Simple magazine. I love the way it marries the subtle flavors and different textures of asparagus, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, olive oil, and fettucine. It’s quick to put together and looks marvelous.
I try to find local ingredients for this dish: asparagus from the farmers’ market, locally made olive oil, and garlic from Gilroy. Also, be careful what pine nuts you use. I had a bad experience one time after eating pine nuts from China. They altered my taste buds for about a month, which was quite unpleasant.
I varied the original recipe a bit. For one, I think it works better with fettucine instead of linguine because of the chunky asparagus pieces. I also like incorporating the salt with the vegetables in the saute pan instead of at the end.
The next time you see some bright green, pert asparagus, try this out for an edible homage to the lush spring season.
Asparagus and Pine Nut Pasta
(Adapted from a recipe in Real Simple magazine)
12 oz. fettucine
1/4 cup olive oil (I used Olivas de Oro brand)
1/4 cup pine nuts (I used Diamond brand)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 t salt
1 cup shaved Parmesan
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
2. Heat the oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until golden. Add the asparagus and salt and continue stirring and cooking until just tender, about 3 minutes.
3. Add asparagus mixture to the pasta and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan before serving.