It seems everywhere I turn on the internet these days, I see a mouthwatering recipe featuring pasta paired with the vegetable of the moment, asparagus. And frankly, the combination is so perfect for a quick meal this time of year it’s not surprising that asparagus pastas are all the rage.
My version was inspired by a dish I had recently at La Laiterie, which contained grilled asparagus and a fresh, bright spring onion soubise. The flavors were wonderful together, and while that dish partnered them with halibut cheeks, I loved the flavors of the asparagus and creamy spring onion so much that I thought I’d spin the two components into a sauce for pasta.
I started by blanching a couple of cups of spring onion, sliced into segments an inch or two long, then pureeing them in the food processor with a little bit of water. I added a dab of butter to a skillet while my pasta water bubbled away on another burner, and I gently warmed the puree in the butter. I added the juice and zest of half a fat lemon, a sprinkle of sea salt, and then melted in about half a cup of tangy crème fraiche.
I had separated my asparagus into tips and stalks, using a vegetable peeler to shave the stalks into long, thin ribbons. As the pasta boiled (I used a farro fettucine, which needed only 5-6 minutes in the pot), I cooked the asparagus just briefly in the sauce, adding a bit of starchy pasta water to smooth it all out. I transferred the pasta to the pan with the sauce, tossing it gently to coat the noodles, then spooned it into shallow bowls, finishing our plates with a grating of Pecorino Romano and more lemon zest.
The flavors worked as well together as I had hoped, with the spring onion puree, lemon and crème fraiche melding into a light but luxurious sauce, but the thing that was most fun about this for me was that with each twirl of my fork, silky ribbons of asparagus were entwined with the pasta, providing a pretty pop of color and fresh flavor in every bite.