Asparagus is one of our favorite seasonal spring treats and we’ve just starting seeing organic asparagus in the stores. We love eating it fresh off the grill, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic. Below is our favorite spring pasta dish. It won’t be here long, so enjoy it while you can!
Asparagus is nutritionally dense
Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, folate, copper, selenium, vitamin B2, many other vitamins and minerals and is a very good source of dietary fiber. Learn more about the nutritional benefits.
One of my favorite things about this dish is the addition of toasted almonds. For being vegetarian fare, the nuts add a unique, heartiness to the meal. Another perk is that aside from the asparagus (which is best used within a day or two of buying), the rest of the ingredients are shelf stable or long-lasting so it’s easy to keep the basics on hand and prepare quickly after you buy asparagus. I also love this recipe because it cooks fast so dinner is ready in a flash.
Asparagus pasta with toasted almonds and brown butter
- 1 lb / pack fresh Justa Pasta penne or rigatoni (you can use dried pasta, but it just doesn’t compare)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1+ pound fresh asparagus, bottoms trimmed off and cut into one-inch pieces
- 1 medium shallot, sliced thin
- 2 large cloves of garlic, sliced thin
- 6 tablespoons organic butter, cut into six pieces
- 1 cup sliced almonds (you can buy them sliced, or you can chop up whole)
- 1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Prep ingredients, slicing asparagus, garlic and shallots.
2. Generously salt the water and bring to a boil. We freeze our fresh pasta so cooking time is around 6-8 minutes. If it is fresh, 2-3 minutes. Ideally, time the cooking of the pasta with the finishing of the brown butter sauce below. Add pasta and cook according to directions, timing to be done when step 6 is complete.
3. Heat large pan on high heat. When hot, add olive oil and asparagus. Cook on high heat without much stirring for about 1 minute.
4. Add garlic, shallots and salt to taste, reduce heat to medium-high. Continue cooking, stirring often until asparagus is crisp, but tender to eat.
5. Remove asparagus mixture from pan.
6. Return pan to heat (medium) and add butter. Cook for 30 seconds or so. Add almonds to pan. Cook, stirring frequently until butter is browned and almonds are toasted and fragrant. The butter turns very brown quickly so best to stop when it is just starting to turn.
7. Remove pan from heat. Add vinegar to the almond and butter mixture to deglaze the pan and stir. Mix the asparagus mixture back into the pan. Add Parmesan cheese to taste.
8. At this point, the pasta has cooked perfectly, has just been drained and is ready to add to a large serving bowl. Gently toss asparagus mixture and pasta. Serve and garnish with additional Parmesan if desired.
The leftovers from this meal are a great lunchtime treat. If we have a LOT leftover, we even re-heat it in the serving bowl in the oven, and it is great. Original inspiration for this recipe came from Cooks Illustrated.
In our home, we do not shy away from healthy fats including organic butter. We eat wheat pasta, but you could easily substitute your favorite rice or gluten free pasta in this dish.
Hyatt family eats are occasional posts devoted to sharing some of the things our family is cooking. We believe in a whole-foods, minimally-processed approach to nutrition that is realistic for a busy family of four. We’d love to hear about what you’re eating too! Email us at Go@HyattTraining.com.