Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Creamy Italian Pasta with Asparagus


I really like this pasta!  It's quick, it's easy, and it's tasty.  I've made it a few times already and when I saw the gorgeous thin asparagus spears at the market, I knew it was time to share.  Of course having little kids, I made this with some cute mini farfalle pasta, but you are welcome to make it with regular sized bow ties.  (Who says mini stuff is just for kids though!)  This is a springtime or summer bounty dish.  The colors are appealing and the dish itself, while nice and creamy, is not so heavy that it weighs you down.  R demolished her plate in a trice.  (Glad the kiddos like asparagus.)  We hope you try out and enjoy this recipe, it's a definite keeper for us.

Creamy Italian Pasta
Serves 4-6

8 oz. dried mini bow tie pasta
½ fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped into 1" pieces
½ yellow onion, chopped into 1" pieces
8 oz. fresh asparagus spears
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
½-1 tsp fine grain sea salt (to taste)
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley (flat-leaf)

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.  Meanwhile in a large skillet, start sauteing the fennel and onion in the butter and oil over medium heat.  Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and break into 1" pieces.  Add to onion and fennel and cook for 5-7 minutes until crisp tender.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the cooked bow ties, mascarpone and reserved pasta water to the pan.  Stir together until mascapone is melted.  Add mozzarella, Parmesan and peas and toss to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley.  Garnish with extra parsley if desired or the fronds from your fennel bulb.

Adapted from recipe.com.

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