Saturday, September 28, 2013

Spaghetti with Shaved Asparagus Brown Butter and Toasted Walnuts

Within the confines of my home this is still called ABC pasta. The first time I made the dish, I used asparagus, brown butter and capellini, and, while the ingredients have changed a bit, the name stuck. This is a fast and easy dish to execute. It has a spare elegance and makes a lovely, light meal that is worthy of family and friends. It's also a great way to use some of the asparagus that floods markets at this time of year. While you'll want to use thick spears to make this, it will be necessary to sacrifice the first strip you shave from the top and each side of the asparagus spears. The asparagus is "cooked" only by the heat of the pasta, so you want to make sure it is crisp tender, not tough, when it is tossed with the macaroni. The brown butter sauce is simple to put together and once the asparagus has been shaved you are ten minutes away from dinner. There is a nutty richness to the butter sauce that I think you will enjoy. The recipe appears below.

Now, I have a special request to make of you. I'm looking for a food joke. The kind that will make folks groan when they hear it. It's time for retaliation. I have for most of my adult life been surrounded by pragmatic people who love the order of numbers and the power of logic. They are wonderful folks, one and all. Let's just say that their humor is sometimes beyond the pale. I was working in the kitchen when the Silver Fox, normally quite circumspect, let loose a belly laugh. He was paging through a book on relativity. "You have to hear this, Mary." Are your ready? Here's the gist of his metaphysical gut buster. A battered turtle crawled in a police station to report he had been mugged by three snails. When ask to be more specific, the turtle said, "It happened so fast, I can't remember." Help! Poor Albert Einstein is rolling in his grave. It may be time for separate vacations.

Spaghetti with Shaved Asparagus, Brown Butter and Toasted Walnuts...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite


Brown Butter Sauce

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons heavy cream


12 ounces spaghetti

1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus, tough ends removed, shaved with a vegetable peeler

1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese


1) To make brown butter sauce: Melt butter and salt in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add chopped fresh sage and cook, stirring often, until butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons heavy cream and remove from the heat.

2) To make pasta: Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot. Gently fold in shaved asparagus.

3) To serve: Add brown butter to pasta and asparagus and toss to coat. Fold in cheese and walnuts. Adjust salt if necessary. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

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Spaghetti with Fresh Herbs and Roasted Tomatoes - A Toast to Taste

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