Now that school is back in session, I'm digging into my reserves of quick and easy weeknight dinners. I've got quite a few stashed away after a summer full of ample time for more involved meals.
This simple pasta was a definite winner with me. I loved it because it came together in a flash--a welcomed relief after a long day. It was creamy and very comforting without being heavy. With a couple of additions on my part, the sauce had plenty of flavor without being too assertive. The mushrooms, asparagus, and mascarpone paired perfectly with one another, but peas would also be fantastic if you can't find decent asparagus or you want to be more budget friendly. With so much going for it, this dish would be equally great for a weekday evening as it would a special night with company.
Farfalle with Asparagus and Mushrooms
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Giada's Family Dinners
1 lb. dried farfalle (whole wheat would be great)
2 TBSP unsalted butter
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 lb. thin asparagus, trimmed and sliced into one-in. pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 c. mascarpone cheese
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3/4 c. walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 c. freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the farfalle and cook according to package directions, stirring often to prevent sticking. reserve one c. cooking liquid and drain.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender and most of the juice has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the asparagus and sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Stir in the mascarpone, nutmeg, and red pepper.
4. Add the farfalle and toss until cheese coats the pasta. Add pasta water 1/4 c. at a time to moisten, until desired thickness is reached. Stir in 1/2 c. walnuts and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
5. Mound pasta into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and remaining walnuts. Serves six as a main course.
one year ago: summer zucchini and tomato tianthree years ago: margarita cupcakes