Lemony Asparagus Pasta

June/July 2006, EatingWell Serves Two

Your rating: None Average: 4.1 (118 votes)

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.

"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. "
Lemony Asparagus Pasta

Makes: 2 servings, 1 1/2 cups each

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  • 4 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta, (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 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 1/4 cup Parmesan into the pasta until combined. Serve the pasta topped with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.


Per serving: 396 calories; 12 g fat (6 g sat, 4 g mono); 27 mg cholesterol; 54 g carbohydrates; 21 g protein; 6 g fiber; 604 mg sodium; 396 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (40% daily value), Folate (23% dv), Magnesium (19% dv), Vitamin A & Vitamin C (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 whole milk, 1 lean meat

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