Linguine with asparagus sauce and Parmesan

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vegetarian/ vegan creamy Italian asparagus pasta with lemon and parmesan
Vegetarian/ vegan creamy Italian asparagus pasta flavoured with lemon and parmesan

It’s vegetarian and it’s vegan, it’s light and it’s beautiful in its green creamy base. Of course, it’s pretty delicious too. Silky linguine with asparagus sauce is a gentle recipe. An easy-to-make fine pasta dish that stands very well as a menu starter no matter what the main course will be. It’s light (in this recipe) thus appropriate for those on a diet and/or avoiding animal proteins – for the Lent too. However, it can be enriched if your palate holds a more bold and tasteful view.

Spring season is ideal for the ancient and therapeutic asparagus. People have been eating them since 3000 B.C. The ancient Greeks and Romans were fond of them. They used to enjoy them fresh when in season and dried in winter. Because of their diuretic properties, asparagus was considered an aphrodisiac as well.

asparagus tips in front of pasta with asparagus and lemon, a vegetarian and vegan pasta dish

Asparagus and pasta: a perfect all-season match

All kinds of asparagus – green, violet and white – without exception, with a delicate flavour, are flexible in their matchings. They go very well with basic foods such as pasta, rice, eggs and white sauces (such as hollandaise). The wild asparagus (not cultivated) are undeniably favoured by the gourmet friends, although they are hard to find.

In their combination with linguine, the biggest part of their body (after being boiled for a while) transformed with the help of olive oil, into a velvet sauce aromatized with lemon zest. This offered the necessary raciness in taste while parmesan added some slightly spiced tones. The asparagus tips were kept separately to accompany the dish once prepared.

Although fresh garden asparagus makes the best option for this recipe, good quality frozen ones work as well. We tried both to underline that a perfect asparagus pasta does not depend on the season. The frozen ones (from Bofrost) that we used were exceptional.

Green asparagus and a picture with asparagus tips

Do you want to make linguine with asparagus sauce more hearty?

This is a light recipe with amazing, natural flavour. But, if you wish to enrich the tastiness (and the calories) of the dish or make it more hearty, you can add more ingredients choosing from the options below:

  • One poached or fried egg on each plate of pasta (4 eggs in total).
  • A piece of Chèvre, Montrachet, Italian Robiola or President cheese, which you will melt in the warm sauce.
  • Drops of truffle oil, with parmesan slivers and freshly ground pepper.

With or without extras, whichever cooking way you follow, creamy linguine with asparagus sauce creates a unique pasta dish that preserves its delicate character even when it’s rich and delightful.

What to drink with lemon asparagus pasta: A very well frozen Sauvignon Blanc or a light unoaked Chardonnay are the safest options. A crisp Italian Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige is less predictable and makes a better match to the creamy pasta. And a Greek, well frozen Malagousia from Gerovasileiou winery makes the best. If you top up with egg try an oaked Chardonnay or a Prosecco and if you opt for a soft cheese enrichment (Goat, Montrachet, Robiola etc), pair with a French Sancerre which will accentuate the asparagus flavour.

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linguine with asparagus sauce and parmesan

Linguine with asparagus sauce and Parmesan

Preparation: 20 minutes. Complete the asparagus sauce while the pasta is boiling. Quick and easy recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4)
500 g asparagus fresh or frozen
360 – 500 g linguine – or Tagliolini or Bavette or Tagliatelle or Spaghetti or Mafaldine pasta
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/3 tsp lemon zest
1 cup freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan – sub with vegan Parmesan, for the vegan version
2 tbsp salt for the water and some extra for the sauce
1 1/2 cups from the water in which the asparagus and pasta have boiled

To prepare/cut the asparagus for pasta: Cut the asparagus tips and keep them separately. Cut and discard the tough, woody ends of fresh asparagus.
Pour enough water in a large pan, suitable for pasta boiling and bring to boil. Add 2 tbsp salt and the asparagus – not the tips. Boil for 6-7 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon and pass them quickly under cold water to stop boiling. Put them in the blender.

step by step making: asparagus sauce made from boiled asparagus with lemon zest
Making asparagus sauce for pasta

In the same water, add the asparagus tips and boil for 2.5 minutes (2-3′ depending on size). They must be tender but not mushy. Pass them quickly under cold water to stop the boiling and keep them in a bowl.
To prepare the pasta: Boil the linguine/pasta al dente in the asparagus water (add more water in the pan if it isn’t enough), according to packet instructions. But, keep 1 minute from the indicated boiling time.

To make the asparagus sauce (while cooking the pasta): Add lemon zest, olive oil and 1 cup from the water where the asparagus and pasta have boiled into the blender with the asparagus. Blend the ingredients to integrate.
Transfer the sauce in a large pan – it must fit boiled pasta too.
step by step making of linguine with asparagus sauceDrain the pasta, keeping 1/2 cup from their starchy water and transfer in the pan with the sauce along with the parmesan. Toss and add the 1/2 cup of pasta water to naturally loosen the sauce.
Note: Depending on the quantity of sauce you want to have if you add the extra ingredients (cheese, eggs etc) it may need to add a bit more water.

linguine with asparagus sauce, serving
linguine with asparagus sauce

Serving: Transfer the asparagus lemon linguine in warm plates -depending on the season. Spread the tips over the pasta and sprinkle with some grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

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