I had some asparagus in the fridge that needed using up yesterday and was looking for a nice light lunch. Something not too high in calories, but that would be really tasty as well.
English asparagus is really lovely and something that I just can't get enough of during the asparagus season. We are getting to the end of it now, the asparagus season that is. The rest of the year you can always find asparagus in the shops here, but it comes from Peru, Kenya, or some other faraway place, and is pretty tasteless . . . it's been picked ages before it gets to the shops and so you can imagine the blah-ness of it all . . .
I much prefer the fresh stuff that's been just picked. The taste is amazing. Why settle for less.
Asparagus can be a bit sandy so make sure you wash it really well in several changes of cold water. To trim hold the stem between the forefinger and thumb of each hand and bend it just until it snaps. It will naturally snap off just where the tough part ends and the tender part begins. Discard the tough ends. (or save them in the freezer to make a tasty vegetable stock at a future date) I always like to trim the little tags off around the stem as well, as they can be quite bitter.
Even Todd liked this and he is not really a pasta lover. The tastes were fresh and light and we both really enjoyed it.
*Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce, Asparagus and Peas*
Delicious pasta with a light sauce with vegetables. The vegetables are cooked until just crispy tender and the whole thing is a wonderful symphony of textures and flavours that really please. Adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine.
8 ounces of uncooked fusilli pasta
1/2 pound of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch slices
1 cup frozen green peas
1 TBS butter
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup organic vegetable broth
1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 TBS fresh lemon juice (approximately 1 lemon)
the finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
lemon wedges to serve
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Add the asparagus cuts during the last minute of cooking. Place the peas in a colander. Drain the pasta mixture over top of the peas when done. Set aside.
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant and slightly softened, about one minute. Combine the broth and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring to blend well and then stir this into the garlic in the skillet. Bring to the boil, stirring. Cook until thick, stirring constantly for about one minute. Whisk in the cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook and stir for about one minute to heat through. Toss in the pasta and vegetables, stirring to coat well. Garnish with some more freshly ground black pepper if desired and serve with some lemon wedges on the side.