Asparagus is a welcome sight in the produce section this time of year. It means spring has truly arrived, even if it doesn’t quite feel that way yet outside in chilly New England.
Two of my current goals are to 1) challenge myself more in the non-baking realm, and 2) become more comfortable with using seasonal vegetables. Bearing both of these in mind, I decided to try a recipe for Pappardelle with Lemon Gremolata and Asparagus from the April 2011 issue of Health magazine.
Not only did it include our early spring friend, it also introduced me to gremolata!
Gremolata is a mixture of lemon zest, minced garlic, and chopped flat-leaf parsley. It is typically used to provide pleasant contrast to heavy meat dishes, but it’s wonderful with pasta and fresh asparagus. Citrus and garlic bring in loads of flavor, and a small amount of cream holds everything together.
I loved this dish and I can’t wait to continue to work on my relationship with healthy suppers using seasonal vegetables this spring and summer.
Just don’t ask me to eat a bowl of peas, unless they are dried and coated in wasabi. Or green beans, unless they are simmered in a tomato sauce, Greek-style…
See the hurdles I am facing?
I also feel I should confess that, as a child, the only way I could choke down asparagus was if I dipped it in ketchup first…and for this, I am truly sorry.
Do you have a vegetable you can’t learn to love?
Pappardelle with Lemon Gremolata and Asparagus
Adapted from April 2011 Health Magazine
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 small clove of garlic, diced
8 oz. uncooked pappardelle pasta (wide ribbon, but fettucine will work too)
8 oz. thin asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch long pieces (snap off the tough bottom before cutting)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground pepper
- To make gremolata, combine parsley, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cook pasta in a large saucepan according to package directions, adding asparagus for the last 3 minutes of cooking time.
- Drain pasta and asparagus in a colander and rinse with cold water.
- Place the same saucepan over medium heat, and add cream, salt, and pepper. Whisk until heated.
- Add pasta mixture to pan and toss to coat.
- Increase heat and bring cream to a boil. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until most of the cream is absorbed (around 3 minutes).
- Add half of the gremolata and continue to cook, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and transfer to bowls. Top with remaining gremolata and serve immediately with crusty, warm bread.