Penne and asparagus are bathed in a rich sauce with a slight bite of mustard, lemon and Parmesan. This dish is lovely in early spring, when asparagus is at its peak and nights are still cool enough to inspire a craving for something rich and warm. Source: EatingWell Magazine, June/July 2006

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Advertisement

Ingredients

Directions

  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 6 minutes. Add asparagus and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, about 3 minutes more. Drain and return to the pot.

    Advertisement
  • Meanwhile, whisk milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tarragon, lemon zest and juice.

  • Stir the sauce into the cooked pasta and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick, creamy and coats the pasta. Stir 1/4 cup Parmesan into the pasta until combined. Serve the pasta topped with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Nutrition Facts

395 calories; 12.3 g total fat; 5.3 g saturated fat; 26 mg cholesterol; 662 mg sodium. 400 mg potassium; 56.5 g carbohydrates; 5.9 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 19.3 g protein; 886 IU vitamin a iu; 8 mg vitamin c; 100 mcg folate; 332 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 74 mg magnesium;

Reviews (19)

Read More Reviews
19 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 8
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
05/26/2017
Such amazing flavour. I added more lemon than it said only because I looooove lemon. I did find that it made it the sauce not thicken up (but I didn't mind). I also added chicken. Pretty easy to cook. It holy hell did that garlic spit everywhere! Quick and easy to make and between two people still had a little left over for lunch the next day. Pros: super tasty and aspargus adds a delicious crunch Cons: garlic goes everywhere:( Read More
Rating: 3 stars
12/20/2016
Great recipe love the idea of the creamy sauce the lemon and asparagus. I found the recipe quantities to be too small for 3 adults as a main dinner dish. I doubled the pasta and asparagus but almost had to triple the sauce recipe in order to make sure the pasta was fully coated- I should also add that I added diced chicken breast to the recipe so I guess a little extra sauce would be needed for this. I only added a pinch of extra lemon zest and kept the same amount of lemon juice however I still thought it was slightly over powering the other 2 people thought it was great though. I used thyme instead of tarragon as I had some in my fridge All in all it went down a treat and I will definitely be trying it again Read More
Rating: 4 stars
03/25/2015
Taste very good but.... Though I liked the recipe I wish I had looked at the quantity of the ingredients before deciding to make it. I realized that 4 oz. of pasta wasn't enough to feed two teenagers so I doubled it. Now I have a recipe that I have to use 1 cup of cheese. I wouldn't consider this to be healthy. Any recipe can appear to be healthy if the quantity is small enough. Misleading! Pros: Great flavor Cons: Recipe size is too small to be satisfying. Read More
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
01/18/2015
Very impressed I don't usually make creamy sauces because they're too fatty but this one has great flavour and texture without excessive calories. I used dijon mustard instead of wholegrain and rosemary instead of tarragon but left all the other ingredients exact. Sauce is great! I added some cooked chicken at the end to boost the protein. Thank you for this recipe! Pros: Very tasty easy and worry free healthy and not too creamy Read More
Rating: 5 stars
06/09/2014
This was spectacular! It takes some prepping but O-M-G this is an amazing pasta dish! I used Trader Joe's brown rice penne and it came out great. I made a double recipe and had enough for 3 more meals. I was actually surprised at how well it reheated especially with the rice pasta. I love all things lemon and mustard so to put the 2 together was a terrific treat for my taste buds. Husband loved it just as much! I served it with the Lemony Carrot salad =) Pros: Light creamy amazing flavor reheatable Cons: prep time a little longer than I'd prefer Read More
Rating: 5 stars
05/23/2014
great side or main dish I made this tonight with leftover asparagus. I did not have a fresh lemon or tarragon but this turned out great. I also used 1% milk instead of whole. I added just a bit more mustard because I had cheap grainy mustard instead of the good stuff. My 7 yr old loved it. Seeing her eat two servings made me think that one could serve this with chicken mixed in as a main dish. My husband and I also sprinkled a little truffle salt over top (if you don't have any buy it! well worth the price). Delish! Pros: quick easy full of flavor Read More
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
12/13/2013
A pasta dish with flair and flavor This is a great dish. I was sceptical of the recipe making enough for two but it really does. I do not like tarragon used basil instead; used bow tie instead of penne. Also added some fresh sugar snap peas to it. Not good with sauces I was a little nervous but the sauce is easy and cooks up great no lumping or clumping. Loved the lemony flavor. This is a keeper! Pros: Easy to make quick simple ingredients Read More
Rating: 3 stars
06/17/2013
easy and good My husband loved it. I used fresh tarragon and apparently have never cooked with it before and decided I didnt like it. Smells and tastes like black licorice to me. If you dont mind tarragon though its a great recipe. Pros: easy Cons: tarragon Read More
Rating: 4 stars
04/24/2013
Delicious! Will make again. Yum! A friend of mine is a picky eater on top of being vegetarian and she (like my boyfriend and I who are not picky eaters) really enjoyed this dish. I used a little extra lemon than called for a little less tarragon than called for 2% milk instead of whole and regular ol' Dijon mustard instead of the grainy stuff (only because whenever I buy the grainy kind I never use it all up before it goes bad). I had no issues with these small changes - the flavor and texture were still great. I will absolutely make this again and my picky eater friend asked for the recipe! My boyfriend thought it would be good with chicken added so I will probably try that at some point. Pros: Easy summery flavorful inexpensive Read More
Rating: 4 stars
01/03/2013
Great lemon flavor I cooked this recipe and loved every single bite! The fresh lemon taste with the asparagus was really great to have on a cold winter's night. It reminded me of a nice summer dish with all of the fresh flavors of the lemon zest and juice in the cream sauce. I doubled this recipe and it was just plenty for three with two portions for left overs. I will definitely try this again with the addition of mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes that was suggested. I know it would add even more dimension to the dish. However my sister felt the lemon was too much. I thought it was just right so I suppose you have to try it to see it for yourselves! Pros: Fresh lively and easy to make Read More
Rating: 3 stars
05/10/2012
pretty good It was pretty good for a quick and easy meal. Make sure you prep before I didn't and I over cooked it a little bit. The sauce wasnt creamy. I overcooked everything a little bit so next time im gonna add some more milk and maybe leave some water after I drain the pasta. Add more seasoning if you want more taste i thought it was kinda bland Read More
Rating: 4 stars
05/07/2012
Made plenty for 3 and still have leftovers. Our 8-year old devoured her plate! That must be a good meal.:) I used 1% milk without any issue. No need for whole. Added a touch more lemon and garlic than it called for because my family loves both. Will definitely make again. Pros: Quick easy flavorful Read More
Rating: 4 stars
04/12/2012
lemon and asparagus are a heavenly combination! I had picked asparagus from my garden today and we had leftover ham so this pasta dish was a perfect quick dinner! I have a favorite lemon sauce that is loaded with butter and cream and this lighter version was quicker just as tasty. I added some of the pasta water and a bit of chicken broth to the sauteed onion and garlic and simmered to reduce it before adding the milk-flour mixture. I believe that added flavor and substance to the sauce. Because the ham was salty I left out the mustard. Pros: serve with sliced tomatoes in balsamic vinaigrette and a Riesling! Cons: If I had had fresh parsley I would have added that too. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/02/2012
I used this as a base recipe but I also think it would be good as written. The lemon flavor really makes the dish. I added sauteed mushrooms sun-dried tomatoes and a few red pepper flakes. I also subbed rosemary for tarragon.. My husband was reluctant to eat this based on the ingredient list (too minimal for him) but he requested that we have it regularly. Thanks! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
11/08/2011
6 oz for Two I used 6oz of pene in stead of 4oz for two people. My measure is: 3oz per person if not hungry or if accompanied with extra dish; 4oz per person if hungry or eaten alone. With the other ingredients i added a bit here and there and used pasta cooking water when the sauce became too thick. Pros: GOURMET COOKING FOR TWO ON A WEEKNIGHT! Cons: 4oz pasta for two is a bit scarce... Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This was super easy to make and all our guests loved it. We doubled the recipe and it was fab. Made enough for five people. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
Easy Light and Creamy! This is a really nice weeknight meal. It satisfied my desire for a creamy pasta dish that wasn't heavy and I didn't feel guilty about eating! Next time I might add more lemon zest and make a shake of red pepper flakes for a little zing! Pros: Light yet creamy comfort food Cons: Not overly bursting with flavor Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
Great easy recipe I was worried that this wouldn't come out as well since we used soy milk instead of whole but it was delicious. Incredibly easy too. Pros: Good for guests or a quick weeknight dinner Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
DEEE-licious I made this recipe exactly the way it called for except I doubled it. It was creamy and delicious and not very time consuming. The lemon zest is really what gives the dish its kick. My boyfriend who is definitely the better cook of the house loved it! My only complaint is that I come to this website for healthy recipes and this one has whole milk and all-purpose flour in it and not to mention the cheese so it's probably not the most health concious meal. Who cares though it was the bomb. Pros: Easy tasty Read More