Lemony Asparagus Pasta – Serves 2-4

4 – 8 ounces penne pasta (1 1/2 c.) I used +/- 8 oz. linguine
1/2 bunch asparagus — trimmed & cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon minced garlic-I used less
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon — or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese — divided

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 6 minutes. Add asparagus and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, about 3 minutes more. Drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, whisk milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tarragon, lemon zest and juice.

Stir the sauce into the cooked pasta and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick, creamy and coats the pasta. Stir 1/4 cup Parmesan into the pasta until combined. Serve the pasta topped with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

White Bean Soup with Asparagus and Peas – Cheryl Strasser


6 c veggie broth

1.5 c farfalle pasta

¼ lb. asparagus, cut on the bias in 1.5� lenghts

½ c. peas

1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

½ tsp finely chopped mint

1.5 tsp. Thyme and oregano

½ tsp grated lemon zest
1.5 tsp lemon juice
1 15 oz can cannellini or great northern beans
¼ onion

½ stalk celery

1 carrot

1 small bay leaf

1 sprig thyme and parsley

Pour broth into a large soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, thyme and parsely. Bring to a boil add pasta and cook until almost al dente, about 10 min. Add the asparagus and bean and cook until the asparagus is crisp tender, about 3 min. Add the peas, herbs, lemon zest and juice. Simmer 2-3 min longer until the pasta and veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

4-6 servings

SKILLET ASPARAGUS – Lidia Serves 4 to 6


In springtime, when farmers markets sell really fresh, locally grown asparagus  or if you’re lucky enough to pick spears in your own asparagus bed cook them by the skillet method. You’ll find it concentrates the natural sweetness and subtle asparagus flavors that are at their peak for only a day or two. Butter and cheese are natural complements to asparagus, and in the final moments of cooking here they both get a delicious toasting.

1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and peeled

4 ounces (1 stick) butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano

Recommended equipment: A 14-inch heavy-bottomed skillet with a cover

Melt the butter in the skillet in the skillet over medium heat. When it is just starting to bubble, lay in the spears in a single layer, sprinkle with salt, and shake to roll the asparagus and coat them.

Cover the pan and let the spears cook and steam for 4 to 5 minutes (or more, if they are very thick), shaking them around now and then,

Uncover and continue to cook another 4 minutes or so as the asparagus The butter left in the pan should be starting to color; if not, cook a bit more, and when browning starts, swirl the pan to spread the color.

Remove from the heat, and scatter the cheese around in the hot pan, swirling again to blend it into the browned butter. Pour the sauce over the asparagus and serve immediately.

Roasted Potato Wedges – Makes 6 servings