lemon asparagus pasta sauce (with optional bread crumbs and scallops)
bob is a pushover for trendy food mags. Spotting the latest Gourmet for the first time,
he does a quick scan and spots this recipe but with good self-discipline, re-racks the
issue and walks away. But ani picks up some bay scallops and was not immediately
forthcoming with an idea for how to do them with pasta. bob's recent recipe find fresh in
mind seems compatible with a bay scallop option. Ani also fails to find fresh bagged bread
crumbs, but bob says no problemwe'll food process some leftover baguette. Which she
has in mind to accompany the scallops. bob grabs another copy of the food mag at checkout.
Ani never wants to read recipes in the kitchen and bob didn't have time to read the
recipe lead-in chatter. But afterwards, the author talks about how she first tried it when
her friend was writing the cookbook from which this was taken. A cookbook residing in the
dr bob cooking team library years already. But without Gourmet to help us select, we'd
have never noticed this gem.
- penne or pasta of choice (butterflies or mafalde: ruffled narrow lasagna-like noodles)
- 1 lb fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed
- 1 t finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 c freshly grated parmigiano
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional bread crumbs and scallops
- 1.5 c bay (or sea) scallops
- 1/4 c bread crumbs
- Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces, keeping the tender tips separate.
- Cook the cut stems in 5 to 6 quarts boiling water with 2 T salt until very tender, about
6 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander, reserving cooking liquid in pot, and rinse
under cold water. Drain well and put in a food processor.
- Cook the asparagus tips in the same water about 3 to 5 minutes until just tender and
transfer to colander to rinse under cold water and drain well.
- Puree the asparagus stems with zest, oil and 1/2 c asparagus cooking water and then put
in a 4 qt saucepan.
- Then cook the pasta in the already boiling asparagus cooking water until it is still a
bit before the al dente state (say 3/4 the recommended cooking time). Reserve 2 c cooking
water and drain pasta.
- Add the pasta, asparagus tips and 1/2 c cooking water to the asparagus sauce and cook
over high heat about 3 to 5 minutes while stirring until the pasta is almost al
dente and the sauce coats it. Add more cooking water 1/4 c at a time until the sauce coats
the pasta but is a little loose (the cheese will thicken it slightly at the next step).
- Stir in the parmigiano, salt and pepper to taste and cook while stirring until the
cheese is melted.
- Serve immediately.
- . If exercising the scallop option, brown the bread crumbs in a sauté pan, and
separately sauté the scallops in a bit of olive oil until cooked, then combine with the
pasta at the end of step 8. Or maybe we attempted bread-crumbing the scallops. Or maybe we
should have attempted bread-crumbing the scallops. Maybe we should just forget the crumbs
and toss in the scallops. You decide.
- Gourmet, May 2000, p 247. Faith Heller Willinger: Red, White and Greens: The Italian Way with Vegetables. Intro
by the Executive Food Editor Zanne Stewart.
- We used butterfly pasta.
- We also never wrote down the details of our execution of the recipe, but the
asparagus prep here seems way too sophisticated for the dr bob cooking team. Probably we
did the usual asparagus prep routine boiling whole in a vertical asparagus pot, and when
done, cut off the tips and put aside, while chopping up the stems and food processing
them. Making sure we had at least 2 c of somewhat more intense asparagus water left to use
in the recipe later. Yeah, that sounds right.