Spring felt so delayed this year, as did everything coming up from my garden. But after a few heavy rainfalls and warmer temperatures things are now looking lush and green. My planters are filled with herbs like basil, mint, dill, fennel and different kinds of lettuces. The peas in my garden beds are starting to to climb, strawberries are almost ready to pick and sunflowers are almost a foot tall. This also means when it comes time to cook dinner I start to look for inspiration from what I can easily grab from the garden, right now it’s lots of fresh herbs which I love having right out my back door. I haven’t been as organized about planning weeknight meals and am often scrambling at the last minute to get a meal on the table pretty quickly. I love this Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Fresh Herbs recipe because it’s adaptable and can be pulled together in 30 mins from prep to plate.
Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Fresh Herbs
- 1 lb spaghetti or long thin pasta noodle
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large bunch of asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal in 2-3 inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 4 long strips of lemon zest about 3 inches
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- 8 large basil leaves (feel free to mix in mint, dill, parsley or other fresh herbs)
- 2 lemons, halved
- About 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, cook pasta al dente, drain noodles reserving 1 1/2 cups of pasta water.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large dutch oven or heavy pot, when oil start to shimmer add asparagus. Season with salt and pepper stirring often until asparagus brightens, about 1 min. Add garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and stir until fragrant about 30 secs, careful not to burn garlic. Remove from heat until pasta is done.
- Add pasta and basil to pot with asparagus mixtures, returning pot to medium-high heat. Add juice from lemons into pot along with Parmesan and 1 cup of reserved pasta liquid. Cook, continuously tossing and adding more pasta water if looking dry. You want the pasta to start looking creamy and coated with sauce. Taste and add more salt accordingly, discard garlic cloves before plating into bowls.