To make this light and fresh Spring pasta with asparagus, cook your pasta risotto style, in broth. In less than 20 minutes you will have the most mouthwatering creamy pasta no extra sauce required!
- A quick and easy pasta recipe ready in under 20 minutes.
- Make this a one-pot recipe by using only frozen vegetables.
- Serve as a low calorie entree or as a side dish with grilled fish or chicken.
Quick recipes using pantry ingredients are my saving grace on nights when the urge to pick-up something is on the verge of winning. The key to these pantry recipes is flavor. Pantry ingredients look dull as dirt sitting on a shelf unless you know their potential. When I don’t feel like cooking I am not going to change my mind unless I am sure the result will be worth the effort I lack the motivation to make.
For this Spring pasta with asparagus I use my very favorite pasta cooking technique – broth. This idea comes straight out of the pages of Cook’s Illustrated magazine from a few years ago. Like all their recipes, the article about Pasta Premavera promised to the result would be the best you could ever make.
Now, I trust the folks at Cook’s Illustrated, I know they are meticulous in their recipe development. So, while the issue was still at the top of my magazine pile, I rolled up my sleeves and started cooking. And, cooking and cooking and cooking. About 3 hours later was sat down to a meal of a very nice pasta with spring vegetables simmered in a broth made from the cut ends of those same vegetables and about 17 other very specific steps.
I was burned out on the recipe before the first forkful met my lips.
However, it was tasty. I was most excited by the result of cooking pasta in a small amount of broth as opposed to a big pot of water. As the pasta cooks it absorbs flavor and seasoning from the broth. The extra water steams off while the remaining broth reduces and mixes with the starch from the pasta so that by the time the pasta is tender it has essentially made its own sauce!
A few modifications: It is entirely possible to make this a one-pot recipe and simply stir in a few cups of (defrosted) frozen vegetables. I used a combination of fresh and frozen to add protein and brighten up with pasta with asparagus. Shaved Parmesan provides an additional flavor component and creamy texture but the effect can be achieved by broth alone to make the dish lower in calories or dairy free. To make this dish even more filling try adding some shrimp or grilled chicken.
- 1 lb asparagus spears
- 1½ cups frozen shelled edamame
- 5½ cups water*
- 2 tsp Better than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base*
- 12 oz Orecchiette pasta (may substitute other short pasta)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 oz (1/2 cup) shaved Parmesan, with more for serving
- ¼ cup minced parsley
- ¼ cup minced chives
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- ⅛ tsp chili flakes
- Remove the tough ends from the asparagus and chop the remaining stalks into 1 inch pieces then set aside.
- Rinse the edamame under cold water using a fine mesh strainer. Leave the edamame in the strainer to continue to thaw.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, bring the water and vegetable base to a boil and add the pasta. Boil, uncovered, until the pasta is tender and the liquid reduces and thickens (about 10 minutes). Stir frequently.
- While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat then cook the asparagus with a sprinkle of salt until it turns bright green and softens slightly (about 5 minutes). Stir frequently.
- Return to the pasta, stir in the Parmesan, most of the herbs (save a few pinches for garnish), lemon zest, and chili flakes. Add the cooked asparagus and edamame. Let stand for 5 mins before serving.
More Easy Pasta Recipes:
One-Pan Spinach and Artichoke Pasta from Britini at Play. Party. Plan.
20 minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet from Karen at The Food Charlatan
Lightened Creamy Mushroom Linguine with Spinach from David at Cooking Chat