We’re on a bit of asparagus overload right now but it’s allowed us to have quick, healthy dinners without too much cooking. This spring pasta dates back to 2011 but is one of my favorite pasta dishes. I usually like to make homemade whole wheat pasta but when pressed for time, a solid store-bought wheat spaghetti is nice. I typically don’t pair asparagus with basil (primarily because it’s usually too early in the season for me to harvest basil) but this dish is my exception. Also, if you can’t find vegetarian friendly parmesan (there’s notes to help in the recipe), my go-to is this goat cheese sauce.
- 6 ounces whole wheat pasta
- 5 to 6 thick asparagus stalks
- 6 scallions, diced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup basil, chiffonaded
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (see note)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Cook pasta according to package or make your own. Drain and set aside.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in scallions and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in asparagus, cover, and continue to cook, stirring frequently until asparagus is tender, 4 or so minutes.
- Whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, zest, and salt. When asparagus and pasta is done, combine in a large bowl while still hot. Add in the olive oil mixture, basil, and parmesan. Toss until the pasta is well coated. Serve with an extra sprinkle of parmesan, drizzle of olive oil, and basil.
The beauty of this pasta dish is that you can really make it into whatever you like. Don’t feel like shaving the asparagus? Dice it instead. Don’t want to use asparagus? Try a different spring vegetable. This recipe isn’t sauce-driven though, so if you’re looking for something more akin to that, try this cream sauce.
Cheese: As mentioned above, if you can’t find the vegetarian friendly parmesan- another creamy cheese (like goat) would work. Other options include gouda or taleggio (just be sure to check those labels for vegetarian rennet).
Vegetables: Peas, greens (spinach or chard), or even fava beans would be a wonderful addition or substitution. My favorite spring pasta variation uses fava beans and greens.
Pasta: Make your own whole wheat pasta or try your hand at gluten-free pasta.
You might notice that I love shaved asparagus. It’s easy to use (both cooked and raw) and I think the thin slices are a wonderful way to show off this beautiful spring produce. If you want to keep shaving, here are a few more recipes you can try.
First Published on June 7th, 2011. Last updated on April 17th, 2016.