From out of the gloom that is late winter, comes spring and asparagus season. I welcome this vegetable into my kitchen at least twice a week until I begin to sense rebellion from certain quarters. I often add this versatile vegetable to risotto or pasta, but I also love it as a side dish, roasted or grilled. I particularly enjoy it with roasted or grilled chicken and I wouldn’t want to eat salmon without it. Although this dish is vegetarian, I traditionally make it the day after Easter with leftover ham.
- 1 pound of asparagus
- 8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, sliced thickly
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 3/4 cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces of spaghetti or other long, thin pasta
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and cut into bite size pieces with diagonal cuts.
- In a pot of boiling water large enough to cook the pasta, add a good handful of salt and the asparagus. Cook asparagus for about 2 or 3 minutes, until almost tender. Lift asparagus out of the water with a slotted spoon and immerse it in a bowl of ice water immediately.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring until they begin to soften.
- Add cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper to the onions and mushrooms. Stir and bring to a simmer over low heat, simmering until it begins to thicken slightly.
- Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions, until al dente.
- Drain spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Add pasta to the cream mixture and toss until well coated.
- Drain asparagus well and add to the spaghetti. Let the mixture warm through, adding a little of the reserved pasta water if the sauce seems too thick. When the consistency of the sauce is to your liking, turn off the heat and add the parmesan cheese, tossing until well coated.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.