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Creamy Asparagus Pasta

June/July 2006, EatingWell Serves Two

Your rating: None Average: 4 (67 votes)

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.



READER'S COMMENT:
"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...

Makes: 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each

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Ingredients

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

Preparation

  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 1/4 cup Parmesan. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Nutrition

Per serving: 359 calories; 10 g fat (4 g sat, 4 g mono); 18 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 7 g fiber; 602 mg sodium; 467 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Folate (38% daily value), Calcium (30% dv), Vitamin C & Zinc (20% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat


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