Pasta with asparagus is an easy spring dinner idea. I would almost categorize it as a one ingredient pasta. Olive oil, salt, and parmesan, and the pasta itself, are sort of givens in many pasta dishes. But even with 5 ingredients, it is an impressively short list.
That’s fancy pork-filled agnolotti or ravioli in the picture above. A major perk of living in Italy is the accessibility of high-quality fresh pasta. You can pick it up at grocery stores or in shops dedicated to making and selling it. We bought the pasta pictured above at a butcher’s shop. It’s everywhere.
While I enjoy making pasta from scratch, I honestly don’t do it very often. I mostly choose to eat dry pasta or to buy it at a shop. I do still make fresh pasta, but for special occasions or leisurely afternoons.
Some of the flavor molecules in asparagus are also water-soluble which means that they are lost in the water when the stems are boiled in the recipe below. Cooking the pasta in the same water the asparagus was cooked in could help to retain some of these flavors. I admittedly don’t know the science around this, but this dish is pretty tasty so it works out. I also sometimes bake asparagus stems in the oven with a little olive oil and salt instead of boiling when making pasta.
Pasta with asparagus
- Fresh asparagus – I used a big bunch for two people, but the amount is flexible.
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Pasta – approximately 125 grams per person
- Remove the tough woody ends from the asparagus and discard. Remove the tips and save. Cut the stems into bite-sized pieces.
- Boil a large pot of water, add salt, and boil the asparagus stems until tender.
- Meanwhile, sauté the asparagus tips in a large skillet or pot with a little olive oil and salt until cooked through and then add the stems.
- Cook the pasta al dente and then drain and add to the skillet or pot with the asparagus along with some pasta water and toss.
- Cook over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds while tossing.
- Plate and top with grated parmesan cheese and serve.