I have a long list posted on my refrigerator door called "Things I Used to Hate and Now I Love." I'll show it to you someday, it's pretty funny. Most items on the list are a result of irrational decisions I made to be as picky as possible as an otherwise perfectly cooperative 7-year-old. Asparagus was one of those decisions.
Obviously, I've since changed my mind. Big time. Asparagus is now one of my favorite veggies (especially the tender, skinny ones), and now that it's in season, it's time to celebrate! This dish is a fresh, bright, springy new weeknight favorite. The original recipe called for goat cheese, so feel free to use that instead of mascarpone for some extra tang.
Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 pound fusilli or rotini (spiral-shaped pasta)
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnish
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Crushed red pepper and garlic salt to taste
1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add asparagus and cook until pasta is tender but still firm to bite, about 3 minutes longer.
2. Meanwhile, combine oil, lemon peel, sundried tomatoes, and chopped parsley in a large bowl.
3. Drain pasta and asparagus. Add hot pasta, asparagus, and mascarpone to bowl with lemon mixture. Toss to coat, distributing mascarpone as it melts. Season pasta to taste with salt or garlic salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Garnish with additional parsley if desired.