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Pasta with Lemon and Asparagus

Pasta with Lemon and Asparagus

I was inspired to create this Italian recipe after reading through some online magazines looking for some ideas for a no-tomato pasta dish.

I saw various renditions of a white sauce, but most used too much butter, or wine and just seemed to take longer than what I would like.

So I decided to just use the way I normally make my own simple Alfredo – milk, cheese and butter plus some flour or cornstarch to thicken up just a bit.

After noticing some of the recipes mentioned lemon zest I thought I’d try adding some zest into my sauce along with chopped asparagus – which is a great accompaniment to pasta.

If you are concerned that the lemon will turn this into a tangy lemon based sauce, don’t worry it doesn’t.  The zest does not overpower the dish, but instead adds a hint of brightness leaving you uplifted and satisfied.

Here’s the recipe:

Time it took to make:   25 minutes (that includes bringing the water to a boil).


  • 3/4 to 1 lb. linguine
  • 2 TBLE butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of corn starch
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup Romano grated Cheese
  • Asparagus stalks trimmed and cut in 1 inch pieces
  1. Start off by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  Don’t skimp on the size of the pot because you’ll be cooking a whole pound and you don’t want the linguine to stick together.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan (I used our 5.5 qt. Cuisinart French Classic Tri-Ply Stainless pan), melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix the milk, corn starch, pepper and lemon zest.   Mix well so there is no clumping.
  4. Add that to the butter mixture, using a whisk as you pour it in – bring to temperature.   The mixing helps keep anything from sticking.
  5. Once up to temperature whisk in the cheese and stir until melted.
  6. By this time, the water should be boiling and you can add in the linguine.  It will take about 9 minutes until done.
  7. Take your chopped asparagus and add to the sauce and cook.  I used frozen organic asparagus from the store and that worked fine.  I didn’t try it with raw, but I’d imagine it wouldn’t take long to cook.
  8. Once the pasta is done, transfer pasta using tongs to the sauce adding any extra pasta water if it appears too dry.   Always keep some pasta water off to the side.
  9. Toss pasta with sauce until coated and serve immediately.

In regards to side dishes and desserts, I personally didn’t make anything.  I’m not the best when it comes to well rounded meals of fruits and veggies served at the same time.   But I’d recommend the typical Italian sides of salad and bread.

For dessert a bright ice cream, sherbert or gelato is always a winner along with a nice cup of hot espresso.  If you’re not in the mood for anything like that, slice up some fresh apples and enjoy.

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Easy Italian Recipes