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Lemony Asparagus Pasta

  • 35 m
  • 35 m
EatingWell Test Kitchen
“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. ”


    • 4 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta, (about 1½ cups)
    • ½ bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into ¾-inch pieces
    • ¾ cup whole milk
    • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
    • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon, or ¼ teaspoon dried
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided


  • 1 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.
  • 2 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.
  • 3 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 ¼ cup Parmesan into the pasta until combined. Serve the pasta topped with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.
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