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This lively springtime asparagus pasta is defined by textural contrast
May 22

Christopher Kimball's Milk Street

One of the pillars of great cooking is ensuring that each dish features ample textural contrast, an element as important as flavor. Once you strike the balance of sweet, salty, acidic, bitter and savory, it's crucial to consider creamy, crispy, chewy and more.

But incorporating different textures doesn't necessarily require additional ingredients. As in this lively springtime pasta dish inspired by one at the River Cafe in London, the solution can be as simple as cooking asparagus in two batches.

In this recipe from our book "Tuesday Nights Mediterranean," which features weeknight-friendly meals from the region, the asparagus is finely chopped in the food processor. Half is sautéed until tender and half is added later in the cooking to preserve its crisp texture. One vegetable, two textures.

A cup of cream and some of the starchy cooking water binds the asparagus into a silky sauce just thick enough to coat the chewy, al dente pasta.

Lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice at the table brighten up the flavors. And a quarter-cup of grated Parmesan lends a savory nuttiness that ties the flavors together.

-- Creamy Asparagus Pastahttps://www.177milkstreet.com/recipes/pasta-with-creamy- asparagus

Start to finish: 25 minutes Servings: 4

2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces Kosher salt and ground black pepper 8 ounces wide, flat pasta, such as tagliatelle or fettuccine 1 tablespoon salted butter 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges to serve

In a food processor, pulse the asparagus until finely chopped, about 15 pulses.

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023

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