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today's special:
pasta with asparagus in lemon cream sauce

Spring’s finally here, and what better way to celebrate the milder temps than by throwing together a dish that features that quintessential spring veggie, asparagus?  Use cream and butter for a richer sauce, milk and olive oil for something a little easier on the waistline – either way, you’ll end up with a fresh, zippy dish that’s elegant and easy to make. If you're up for a little extra work, make some homemade egg pasta to go along with this sauce -- lick-your-plate-clean delicious.

1 bunch asparagus
4 cloves garlic
1 large lemon (or 2 small Meyer lemons, if you can find them)
2 Tbsp. butter, or olive oil
½ cup cream, or milk
1 lb. dried pasta (I like fettucine or linguini)

time 20-30 minutes

1 Break off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard. Boil the asparagus until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge in ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Cut the asparagus spears into 2” long sections. Throw the pasta in the boiling water that you used for the asparagus, and cook until al dente.

2 Mince the garlic; zest the lemon using a zester or a grater. Cut the de-zested lemon in half and squeeze out the juice from one half.

3 Heat the butter or oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; sauté the garlic until soft and yummy-smelling. Lower the heat a bit and stir in the cream and lemon zest. Gently simmer until the flavors begin to meld and the mixture begins to thicken (if you’re using milk, it won’t really thicken much; just cook until the sauce tastes less milky). Add plenty of salt and pepper to taste.

4 Remove the sauce from the heat and toss with the cooked pasta and asparagus. Drizzle in a little bit of the lemon juice – start with about a tablespoon or so, and add more to taste (plus salt and pepper, if necessary). Serve with fresh grated parmesan cheese.


check out these related articles: 
noodling around | farmer jo: asparagus

or search the recipe index !


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