Monday, January 5, 2009

Jaw-Droppingly Delicious Asparagus Penne

Tonight, I decided to head back to the The Big Orange Book from Rachael Ray.
After grocery shopping yesterday, I was ready to make Jaw-Droppingly Delicious Asparagus Penne. This really isn't so bad or expensive to make. I will admit; I can pick some recipes that are not so nice to the wallet. I think the most expensive thing in this recipe is the cheese, but it can be used for other recipes, too!
Recipe (Serves 4)

1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed of ends
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
2 tablespoons butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Black Pepper
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, fine chopped, a couple of sprigs
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water. Drop the asparagus in for 2 minutes, then remove, drain, and chop into 2-inch pieces. Add the pasta to the water and cook to al dente.

To a skillet placed over medium heat, add the EVOO and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the garlic and gently cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Whisk in the stock, half-and-half, mustard, and lemon zest. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and tarragon, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken. Add the lemon juice, and gently toss the asparagus and pasta with the sauce to coat. Turn off the heat and adjust the salt and pepper to taste, then top with grated cheese and serve.
This was really quick to make because there was a lot of time where parts would be cooking, so you could prepare other things while something was cooking. We were able to have one serving and have plenty for leftovers to take for lunch!

I will say this recipe was somewhat...well, not bitter, but tangy I suppose. As you can tell from the recipe, there's a decent amount of lemon zest as well as the juice. Now, tangy doesn't mean bad, I just don't think it was the taste that best fits Henry and I. I know there are people that this would probably suit very well. So try it! I'm not sure that we'll make this recipe again, partly because I try not to make things over and over, but this wasn't one of our ultimate favorites.

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