After making and photographing my recipe for pasta with creamy walnut sauce (another contestant in the contest), I was hungry for dinner. I opened my semi-bare fridge and threw together this dish. It was so delicious, I decided to submit this recipe as well! —Flirty Foodie
Test Kitchen Notes
This is a perfect Sunday evening supper for spring, and makes the most of seasonal asparagus. The lemon keeps things fresh and zesty, while the walnuts contribute the “crunch” factor. The dish takes a mere 15 minutes to make, so you have no excuse not to! It’s so delicious, you’ll want to double the recipe so you have leftovers. —Amelia G
dried spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
Bring a large pot of water to a strong boil. Season with salt, then add pasta. Cook according to package directions for "al dente." Set aside about 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.
While water is coming to a boil, cut off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut the remainder into 1/3-inch rounds, leaving the tips intact. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large pan over medium heat for five minutes. Add asparagus, salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water. Cover pan and cook asparagus for 4 to 8 minutes, until tender to the bite. Turn off heat and discard garlic.
Once pasta is finished, purée 1/3 of the cooked asparagus and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender until smooth. Try to avoid blending the asparagus tips, for aesthetic reasons.
Add puréed asparagus back to pan, along with sliced asparagus. Mix in cooked pasta, lemon zest, and more pasta water as needed to keep the sauce loose. Heat on low for a minute or two to allow pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Serve immediately, topped with chopped walnuts.