Asparagus, those deep greenish stalks with a flavor profile that’s hard to pair with wine, begin harvest in late February lasting until June. Their peak freshness tends to fall in mid-April, depending upon the availability in your area. Asparagus has a refreshing character with a fibrous bite and tastes wonderful prepared in so many ways. I enjoy my spears roasted on a sheet pan with some Teriyaki Skirt Steak, blanched and tossed into a salad in Asparagus, Fava Bean & Egg, or folded into a delicious breakfast treat like in this recipe for Chicken, Asparagus and Potato Hash.
Creamy cheesy linguine is a family favorite and it’s delightful when tossed with fresh vegetables like asparagus and mushrooms. I tend to enjoy this dish vegetarian-style because it’s already decadent enough without an additional protein. I make my sauce using Arrowroot powder, so I can add low-fat milk and half & half and still create a rich and enjoyable sauce without heavy cream. The lightened-up sauce thickens nicely without weighing down the pasta and vegetables, while still coating the linguine beautifully, like glaze on a muffin.
This dish has a springtime feel, but still makes it hardy enough to satisfy those hungry eaters on cool evenings. The asparagus adds freshness to this creamy noodle dish and will leave you anticipating the season to change.
1 pound linguine pasta
1 pound mushrooms, any variety
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into thirds
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons Arrowroot powder, sold in spices aisle
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup half & half
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
salt & pepper
- Boil linguine in salted water for 10 minutes, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
- In a large saute pan, add 1 tablespoon oil, onions, garlic and mushrooms. Saute over medium heat for 4 minutes and add asparagus, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine and place lid on top of pan for 3 minutes to steam asparagus. Remove lid and stir.
- Sprinkle Arrowroot over top of vegetable and stir. Cook for 1 minute. Make a well in center of vegetables and add milk and half & half.
- Fold cream mixture with vegetable and cook until it begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Add two-thirds of Parmesan cheese and stir.
- Add linguine to skillet and toss with creamy sauce. If too thick, thin with a little pasta water. Pour pasta into large serving dish and top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!