Jeannene's most favorite vegetable is asparagus. She loves it so much that she cheerfully eats it year-round, lightly disregarding my disapproval. But right now, it still has the depth of flavor and the silken-crunchy texture I love. So, a couple weeks ago, I adapted a Nigella Lawson recipe from "Summer" to make a splendid asparagus pasta.
Cavatappi with Asparagus & Lemon
2 bunches asparagus, washed & trimmed
1/2 c. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice & zest of 1 lemon
1 lb. cavatappi or other short pasta
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
Cut asparagus into 3/4 lengths, diagonally and leaving tips whole, and steam just a few minutes. Cook & drain the pasta. Warm garlic gently in the oil just until it turns golden. Add pasta & toss to coat. Add asparagus & lemon juice & toss again. Sprinkle with parsley & lemon zest. Serves 4.
I served this with an Italian beet salad from the same cookbook. It was beautiful and tasted very wonderful. Here's my adaptation:
1 red onion, sliced in thin rings
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 cooked beets, 2 red and 2 golden
2 tbsp. olive oil
Chopped mint (you can skip the chopping & just scissor it on when the time comes)
Maldon sea salt
Fresh goat cheese
Let onions sit in vinegar about half an hour. Slice beets & arrange on platter, topping with onions. Drizzle with liquid from the onion bowl & oil. Sprinkle with mint, salt, & pepper. Crumble goat cheese on top.