Enjoy an awesome penne with asparagus recipe from Mitch Weinstein.
By Mitch Weinstein
Since everyone else and his brother and father and mother and sister are writing about asparagus, I guess I have to too. I’ll keep it brief.
- ½ lb. asparagus blanched
- 3 oz. good penne - 4 if you're really hungry, like 6 if you're a pig, but then make more asparagus - yes, very salted water, and if you're smart you'll use the water that you first blanched the asparagus in to cook the penne
- 2 T olive oil, yes good stuff, don't believe that crap that you should only use it at the end
- 1 shallot, minced
- ½ tsp. hot red pepper flakes
- 1 oz. percorino or Parmigiano or a mixture, grated
- 1 lemon, for grating the zest
- Drop the pasta (totally professional term). Slowly fry the shallot and pepper flakes in the oil. When the pasta has about 5 minutes left to cook (just guess, willya?), add asparagus to pan. As the pan dries out, add big spoonfuls of pasta water to it. When pasta is almost done to the point where you wouldn't want to eat it without cooking it for another minute or two (like sometimes at Lupa), transfer to pan w/asparagus (I use a Chinese spider) and start tossing and turning, adding more pasta water and tasting for salt...you will be surprised at how much pasta water will be absorbed, if you've cooked the pasta right and used a good brand.
- When 99.9% done, turn off heat and add handfuls of cheese, keep tossing, tasting, and if it needs a little more water - add it. Did you taste it for salt and pepper?
- At the very end, grate a little lemon zest over and enjoy. Be thankful that ramps are done
Mitch Weinstein is an avid seeker of good food, culinary school grad and writer of the blog Tasty Travails. When not cooking at home, he is on the hunt for that next delicious restaurant meal, great market or maybe even a cocktail. He regularly contributes to the food and drink forums on mouthfulsfood.com, eGullet.org, Chowhound.com and others.