Pasta with Mascarpone Cheese, Asparagus, and Walnuts

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The Pasta Man is a young lawyer from Washington, DC. He cooks a lot of pasta and other things, too. He blogs at www.thepastamanblog.com.

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Do I really need to sell you on this one? Look at that picture! It contains mascarpone! That’s an Italian cream cheese. In a pasta! With delicious springtime asparagus! Interested? Scroll down to the recipe and get started making this!

Still here? Well, okay, you’re a tough sell. I can respect that. But seriously, I toast walnuts and cook asparagus in the same pot as the pasta for extra convenience, making this essentially a one-pot dish. It’s like mac and cheese – I suppose it is mac and cheese, what with the mascarpone and all – but more a subtle creaminess than cheesiness and nom nom nom this is good.

Sold?

This is an adaption from a book called At Elizabeth David’s Table, via Serious Eats, except the asparagus is my addition and a mighty delicious one, if I do say so myself. The Magic Bullet comes in with the assist for chopped garlic and grated parmesan.

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Pasta with Mascarpone Cheese, Asparagus, and Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody stems removed, sliced into pieces
  • 1/2-1 cup mascarpone
  • 3 oz parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, tossed in oil

Instructions

  1. Boil asparagus in heavily salted water until tender. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and add the pasta. Cook until al dente and drain, reserving about a cup of pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, microwave walnuts for one minute. Blend parmesan in the Magic Bullet, remove, and pulse the garlic clove to chop.
  3. Add butter, mascarpone, garlic, and half of the cooking water with the pasta over medium heat. Cook for one minute, turn off the heat, and stir everything up. Add parmesan, then continue to stir and add more cooking water if necessary so the sauce is nice and smooth. Add walnuts and asparagus and stir. Serve with black pepper and more parmesan.

Enjoy!

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