Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Asparagus And Pasta With A Cream Sauce.

I have lots of asparagus spearing up throughout my garden, so today I'm making a pasta dish with asparagus and a garlic and Parmesan cream sauce.  It's quick and easy, light and filling.  Plus it's got that comfort thing goin' on and I imagine we could all use some comfort right now.

No real recipes here.  Just throwing stuff in pots, cooking for a bit, and within 20 minutes, we have a meal.     
 For the pasta, you can use whatever you have.  I used "ruffles" pasta (I had a handful left in the box.) and supplemented it with farfalle (about 2 cups).  Farfalle directions said to cook for 12-14 minutes; ruffles for 9-11 minutes.  So I brought a pot of salted water to a boil, poured in the farfalle, then 3 minutes later added the ruffles.  Cooked it 13 minutes total, then drained it, saving about a cup of the pasta water.
 Above is farfalle pasta on the left and ruffles on the right.

Notice I said to save some of the pasta water.  That's because I'm using it in the sauce.
And there's a reason for using the pasta water in the sauce. As pasta cooks, it releases some of its starch into the water.  Using starchy pasta water in the sauce will bind the pasta to the sauce, enhancing the flavor and resulting in a thicker, richer, more cohesive sauce that clings to your pasta much like an emulsified vinaigrette does to salad greens.

Now, I had about 12 spears of asparagus which I cut into 1-inch long pieces.  Since I'm not fond of washing a bunch of pots, I dropped the asparagus body spears in with the pasta at the 9-minute mark, then the tips in at the 12-minute mark.  And everything was cooked perfectly.  The pasta was al dente and the asparagus was tender/crisp. Put the pasta and asparagus into a bowl.
While the pasta was cooking, I made a quick cream sauce to toss with the pasta and asparagus.
Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce
2 TB unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced 
2 TB flour
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
extra grated Parm 
chopped parsley 
In a small sauce pan, melt butter over low heat.  Add in garlic clove and cook, stirring for a minute.  Add in flour and whisk for another minute.  Slowly pour in reserved pasta water and increase heat to medium.  Whisk constantly.  Mixture will thicken.  Slowly whisk in  heavy cream.  Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Stir in grated Parmesan cheese.  Remove from heat and let cheese melt.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over drained pasta and asparagus and toss to coat.  Add extra grated Parmesan and chopped parsley to servings.


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