Creamy Asparagus Pasta

Creamy Asparagus Pasta

12 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, June/July 2006

Lemon zest ties all the flavors together in this light and creamy pasta. Make it a meal: Serve with a salad of sliced fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes tossed with a little fresh basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Ingredients 4 servings

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


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  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add asparagus and continue cooking until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, 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 medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 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 pasta-asparagus mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sauce is thick, creamy and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup Parmesan. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1½ cups
  • Per serving: 359 calories; 10 g fat(4 g sat); 7 g fiber; 56 g carbohydrates; 17 g protein; 161 mcg folate; 18 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1,200 IU vitamin A; 11 mg vitamin C; 253 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 632 mg sodium; 466 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Folate (40% daily value), Calcium (25% dv), Vitamin A (24% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1½ fat | 3 Carbohydrate Servings

Reviews 12

May 25, 2017
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By: JMW59
Too much fat- made it with 2% milk. I thought these recipes were suppose to be healthy- many of them are high in carbs and fat.
July 29, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Okay, but nothing special Made this as written. It was just okay. We wanted more flavor. Won't use this recipe next time. Pros: Pretty quick and easy Cons: Verges on bland
May 14, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Great-tasting, easy to make dish This dish was very easy to prepare and it tastes great! It calls for minimal food prep which was great. I added brown lentils for some protein and their earthy taste was very complementary! I would definitely make this dish again! Pros: Flavorful, easy to prepare, looks great Cons: Cannot taste the lemon so much
July 09, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Very tasty! Tasted so good. Next time I will brown the flour and use room temperature milk to prevent the milk from separating. Needed more flour than the recipe called for. Pros: easy to make Cons: sauce separated
April 17, 2011
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By: Jls06029
AMAZING!! I never review recipes, but I even created an account just to rave about this one. I also think that this sauce would be amazing in a healthy version of eggs florentine. Mmmm. Pros: Quick, easy and delicious
April 01, 2011
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By: EatingWell User
Creamy Asparagus Pasta This is one of my favorite spring dinners to make on a weeknight. I've substituted snap peas in place of the asparagus and that was great too. Don't forget the tarragon--that's what makes it so special!
September 29, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I'm not sure if I added too much salt on accident, but it was way too salty. I too couldn't really taste the lemon, but the tarragon was great. Very easy to make, will try again omitting the salt and adding much more lemon. My 9 year old actually ate asparagus when I served this, so will definitely make again.
June 03, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I burnt the garlic, so the kids were disappointed. Couldn't taste the lemon. Next time, I'll skip the garlic, go heavy on the lemon juice, and double the asparagus.
May 19, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
This is a super delicious pasta recipe! The sauce is so creamy and lemony fresh, the tarragon adds depth and beauty (even if you don't like anise flavour, and I don't!), the asparagus goes perfectly, and best of all...not an ounce of butter to be had! It's easy to make and can be used as a side or as the main course. Dress it up with some morels for an even earthier flavour. Truly, a perfect spring recipe.
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