Creamy Tagliatelle with Asparagus & Herbs

I love springtime pasta dishes loaded with vegetables. This version was creamy, rich, and absolutely delicious. Chopping the asparagus so that it could be completely incorporated throughout the pasta was genius.

This recipe was adapted from Ruth Rogers of River Café London: Thirty Years of Recipes and the Story of a Much-Loved Restaurant cookbook, via Food 52. I modified the proportions to use one pound of pasta. I also left the asparagus tips intact. Amazing!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 1/4 pounds thin asparagus spears
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley, oregano)
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 14 to 16 ounces taglierini, tagliatelle, or pappardelle pasta
  • 5 to 6 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  1. Trim or snap off the tough ends from the asparagus spears. Cut into 1-inch pieces; reserve tips in a separate bowl.
  2. Finely chop the 1-inch pieces of asparagus all together with 2 of the garlic cloves and the herbs in a food processor. (I chopped the garlic and herbs first and then added the asparagus.)
  3. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan with the remaining 4 whole garlic cloves and simmer until the cloves are soft. Remove from the heat; discard the garlic.
  4. Heat the olive oil and butter in a separate large pan and sauté half of the chopped asparagus for 5 minutes, stirring. (I used a 14-inch skillet.)
  5. Add the rest of the chopped asparagus-herb mixture and the reserved asparagus tips, followed by the flavored cream. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the cream begins to thicken, about 6 minutes. Season to taste. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  6. Cook the pasta in a generous amount of boiling salted water, then drain thoroughly.
  7. Add to the sauce along with about half of the Parmesan and toss together.
  8. Serve with the remaining Parmesan.

Two Years Ago: Linguine with Asparagus & Egg

Three Years Ago: Rigatoni with Lemon-Chile Pesto & Grated Egg

Four Years Ago: Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus, Peas, & Mushrooms

Five Years Ago: Baked Shells with Cauliflower & Taleggio

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Pasta Primavera with Asparagus, Peas, & Crème Fraîche

This quick and fresh dinner was truly springtime on a plate. It uses a combination of early spring vegetables- asparagus, peas, and scallions- which, as the author describes, makes it a “true celebration of the season.”

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the proportions and omitted the tarragon. I also used reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Loved it!

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed
  • 3/4 pound asparagus, ends snapped
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • cup fresh English peas
  • 1/3 cup (5 large) thinly sliced spring onion, white part only (or use shallot)
  • garlic cloves, finely chopped
  •  coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces pappardelle, fettuccine or tagliatelle, preferably fresh
  • cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, at room temperature
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) crème fraîche or whole milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon, optional
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, slice snap peas in half and asparagus stems into 1/4-inch-thick pieces; leave asparagus tips whole.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add snap peas, asparagus, English peas and onion. Cook until vegetables are barely tender (but not too soft or mushy), 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  5. Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente (1 to 3 minutes for fresh pasta, more for dried pasta). Drain well, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
  6. Transfer pasta to the skillet of prepared vegetables or to a large bowl.
  7. Immediately toss pasta with vegetables, Parmigiano-Reggiano, crème fraîche and herbs.
  8. Thin sauce to desired consistency with reserved pasta water.
  9. Season generously with salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Serve.

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Pasta with Yogurt & Caramelized Onions

This wonderful meatless main dish tasted like a deconstructed version of my mother-in-law’s special homemade Christmas Eve pierogies. Apparently, it is actually an adapted Greek island dish! It was rich and delicious.

This recipe was adapted from Food 52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes that will change the way you cook by Kristen Miglore, contributed by Diane Kochilas. (This cookbook was a Christmas gift from my sweet brother. ) I used dried pappardelle noodles instead of fresh tagliatelle.

The author suggests ways to “fancy” up this dish by adding chard or spinach to the pasta just as it finishes boiling. Another suggestion was to blend the sauce with peas, mint, or tahini. All so yummy!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 5 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups (1.4 L) coarsely chopped or sliced yellow onions
  • sea salt
  • 1 pound (450 g) tagliatelle or other fresh pasta or dried pappardelle
  • 2 cups (450 g) thick, strained Greek-style yogurt (I used 2 percent)
  • 1 cup (100 g) coarsely grated Pecorino Romano or kefalotyri cheese
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently and seasoning with sea salt to taste as you go, until the onions are soft and golden brown, 20 to 30+ minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. As the water heats, add enough salt so that you can taste it. Add the pasta and cook until soft, just past al dente.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot.
  4. Combine the yogurt with 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the reserved cooking water and whisk to mix well. Add more of the reserved pasta water as needed to get the sauce to your desired thickness.
  5. Toss the pasta with the yogurt mixture.
  6. Serve the pasta immediately, sprinkled generously with cheese and topped with the caramelized onions and their juices.

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Pappardelle with Mashed Peas and Pecorino

When I received the May issue of Martha Stewart Living, I earmarked every pea recipe- they all sounded so delicious!! I picked this buttery, sweet, rich, and easy dish to try first. (We also can’t eat enough pappardelle in my house!) My son declared that it was “addictive.” 🙂 It was absolutely DELICIOUS. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 cups shelled green peas (from 3 pounds in pods), or 3 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 pound pappardelle, tagliatelle, or fettuccine
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  1. Blanch fresh peas in a large pot of salted boiling water until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander with a slotted spoon. (If using frozen peas, skip this step.)
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add peas and lightly mash with the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, return pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain. (I put a measuring cup in my colander so that I don’t forget to reserve the pasta water!)
  4. Add pasta to skillet and cook, tossing to coat with pea mixture. Add butter and 1/2 cup pasta water; toss to evenly coat (adding more water if necessary). Top with cheese, season with pepper, and serve.

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Mushroom Bourguignon

It’s official… “bourguignon” is my new favorite word! I can’t stop saying it!! AMAZING. 🙂 I’m driving my family crazy…

This “meaty” vegetarian dish is hearty and rich with flavor. A wonderful twist on a classic French dish. I adapted the recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook by Deb Perelman. We ate it over fresh tagliatelle noodles, but it would be delicious with any other type of egg noodles such as pappardelle as well. An easy and elegant weeknight meal.

Yield: Serves 6 as a main course

  • 3 T (45 ml) olive oil
  • 3 T (45 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 pounds cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, & cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 1/2 cups (172 g) pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 3/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups (352 ml) full-bodied red wine
  • 2 1/2 T (52 g) tomato paste
  • 3 cups (712 ml) beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
  • 2 T plus 1 tsp (18 g) all-purpose flour
  • egg noodles, for serving (I used fresh tagliatelle)
  • chopped chives or parsley, for garnish, optional
  • sour cream, for garnish, optional
  1.  Heat 1 1/2 T olive oil and 1 1/2 T butter in a medium-sized Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over high heat.
  2. Sear the mushrooms and thawed pearl onions until they begin to take on a little color- your mushrooms will make a delightful “squeak-squeak” as they’re pushed around the hot pan- but the mushrooms do not yet release any liquid, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove mushrooms and pearl onions from the pan and set aside.
  4. Lower the flame to medium and add the second T of olive oil. Add the carrot, yellow onion, shallot, thyme, a few pinches of coarse salt, and several grinds of black pepper in the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for just 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half, which will take about 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the tomato paste and the stock.
  8. Add back the mushrooms and pearl onions with any juices that have collected; bring the mixture to a boil- then reduce the temperature so it simmers for 10 to 15 minutes, or until both the mushrooms and onions are very tender.
  9. Combine the flour and the remaining butter with a fork; stir this into the stew.
  10. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to a “coating” consistency. (I boiled mine down for 10 minutes!) Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
  11. When the desired consistency of the stew is achieved, cook the egg noodles according to the package directions in salted boiling water.
  12. To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (we omitted this topping), if using, and sprinkle with optional chives or parsley.

Note: The stew reheats very well on the second and third days in a large saucepan over low heat.

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If you like this you may also like:

Spicy & Garlicky Fresh Tomato Sauce with Pappardelle

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Do you ever feel like you are fighting nature at every turn? Weeds? Insects? Pollen? Leaves? In our yard we have to add Canadian geese to that list. We can barely scare them away at this point! The families hanging out in our yard are absolutely adorable… we just wish that they didn’t leave anything behind….

I have been so busy fighting nature recently that it’s kept me out of the kitchen. 🙂 This was a delicious and quick cooking meal with wonderful fresh flavors. It’s traditional Italian name is Tagliatelle All’Aglione- in Tuscany- named for the generous amount of garlic (aglio in Italian) in the sauce. This recipe, a staff-favorite, was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Paolo Coluccio. We ate it with green salad and Whole Wheat Spicy Herb and Garlic Bread. Lots of garlic and lots of spice- Great!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/2 cup (8 T) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 pound dried tagliatelle (I substituted pappardelle)
  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and form a sauce, 10-20 minutes. Season the sauce with salt to taste; keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain well.
  4. Add the pasta and half of the cooking water to the sauce and toss over moderately low heat until coated, 2 minutes; add more of the cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Transfer the pasta to shallow bowls and serve.

Note: The sauce can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat before tossing with the pasta.

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Saffron Pappardelle with Moroccan Spiced Shallot-Butter Sauce

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We have been pappardelle crazy in my household lately– we can’t eat enough of it!! The original recipe had instructions to make saffron tagliatelle but I opted to put saffron threads in my pappardelle cooking water. This shortcut added a surprising amount of flavor – and color- to the noodles. Great! The spiced shallot-butter sauce was spicy and loaded with flavor. This recipe was adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi. I omitted the mint and made half of the suggested amount of sauce (I wasn’t baking… I couldn’t use 2 sticks of butter!). I am a sauce lover and the noodles were completely coated in delicious sauce; the reduced amount was perfect. A wonderful and quick weeknight meal!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 pound of egg pappardelle or tagliatelle
  • 1 large pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, finely chopped in a food processor
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chile flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, or more, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley (alternatively, 1/4 cup mint and 1/4 cup parsley can be used)
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toast the pine nuts for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant and light brown in color.
  3. Make the Moroccan Spiced Butter: Place the butter and oil in a frying pan and add the shallots. Cook the shallots gently for about 10 minutes, or until they soften and the butter turns slightly brown. Add all of the spices, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  4. Add a large pinch of saffron threads to the salted boiling water. Cook the pasta in the water according to package instructions. Drain and return to the saucepan.
  5. Pour the spiced butter over the pasta and stir well. Sprinkle with parsley and pine nuts and gently incorporate. Serve.

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