Creamy Asparagus, Lemon, and Walnut Pasta

By Flirty Foodie
May 6, 2014

Author Notes: 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

Food52 Review: 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

Serves: 2
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min

  • 7 ounces dried spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 pound asparagus spears
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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Reviews (40) Questions (0)


Amy M. April 22, 2018
What other nut could be used instead of Walnuts?
Darlene April 23, 2018
I think this would be very good with almonds, maybe pistachios. This recipe is actually on my menu for this week. It's a great weeknight recipe and a perfect springtime meal.<br />
macfadden June 20, 2017
Tasty. Check your asparagus before 4 minutes if it's thin, though; mine was a bit overdone by then.
Meg June 4, 2017
Great, easy, quick. I added some fresh basil along with the walnuts and I think I'll add it to the puree next time.
Darlene July 8, 2016
This recipe is simple, quick and delicious. It's similar to a lot of pasta recipes I use, but the puree of asparagus is a very complimentary component. We love garlic so I use more and leave it in. The second time I made it I added sauteed chicken sausage and that was delicious too.
T July 5, 2016
This was bland and underwhelming. Definitely will not be making again. I'm disappointed because usually food 52 recipes are pretty spot on.
Bastien April 24, 2018
I agree with you. Very disappointing. Thanks for the Parmigiano reggiano that added some flavor.