Friday, June 17, 2016

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Asparagus and Garlic Scapes


Now that spring is practically over, I thought I'd share this delightful pasta I made a couple of weeks ago. But first, a look at this spring according to my phone and snapchat story. I joined a CSA this year (in which you pay a farm up front and get a box of fresh produce every week), and I've been having fun with some unusual ingredients like applemint and garlic scapes. Here are the contents of my first box from a few weeks ago:


And of course, I've been making lots of trips to the farmers market(s) as well.


And my tomatoes are finally in the ground! My herbs and garlic are doing wonderfully, as well.

My fridge has been bulging with produce for the last month or two as I try to get as much rhubarb, asparagus, and strawberries as I can before their all-too-short season is up. When I saw this creamy lemon pasta on the New York Times cooking newsletter, I couldn't help but dress it up with some of that produce (plus a little Parmesan, of course). It was delicious, and surprisingly filling. And it's quite an easy recipe! My additions will be described in pretty loose terms, since I wasn't really measuring and the amount of vegetables mostly depends on taste.

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Asparagus and Garlic Scapes
Adapted from The New York Times
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
25-30 medium asparagus spears (1-2 lb)
4 garlic scapes 1
Olive oil
12 oz wide egg noodles
Zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1-2 lemons, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Slice the asparagus and garlic scapes into 1-inch lengths and toss with enough olive oil to coat, but not so much that they are swimming. Season with salt and pepper. Spread in a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan (or even on a pizza stone) and roast 15-20 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
  2. About halfway through the vegetables' cooking time, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the egg noodles according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.
  3. Two minutes before the noodles are done, add the cream, zest, salt, and pepper to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour cream mixture over the noodles and add lemon juice to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes, until pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Add in vegetables and top with a generous amount of grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.
Notes:
  1. Garlic scapes are the green stems of hardneck garlic, harvested so that the plant will expend most of its resources on the bulbs rather than producing the flowers that eventually emerge from the scapes. They have a delicious mild garlic flavor and can be found at some farmers markets in the spring. If you don't have any, I think this would also be delicious with a couple of thinly sliced garlic cloves, cooked briefly in a little oil in the saucepan before adding the cream mixture, or (gasp) even without garlic.

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