Spring Greens Asparagus and Ricotta Pasta
serves 4 (From: foodiecrush.com)
1 pound spinach farfalle or penne pasta
1/2 pound asparagus spears, blanched and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup peas, blanched or thawed
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, blanched and drained of all water
1 cup ricotta fresca
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
4 tablespoons fruity olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup mint leaves, shredded
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to warm pan. Add asparagus, peas, spinach and mint.
2. In a small bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest until well blended. Add to pasta and vegetables and combine. Garnish with ricotta fresca, parmesan and almonds and top with kosher salt and cracked pepper.
Bacon Wrapped Caramelized Sesame Asparagus
serves 4, is easily multiplied (From: howsweeteats.com)
1 bunch of asparagus, about 20-25 spears, stems removed
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, whisk together oils, brown sugar and garlic. Set aside.
Bunch together 5-6 asparagus spears and tightly wrap a piece of bacon around the bundle. Place on the wire rack seam-side down and repeat. Using a pastry brush, a spoon or even your hands (I did this…), brush the spears thoroughly with the oil/sugar mixture. Give each bundle a hefty sprinkle of sesame seeds. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until bacon is crispy. Serve warm.
Slow Butter Braised Asparagus (From: steamykitchen.com)
A bunch of asparagus, hard part of stalks cut off
teaspoon of minced shallots and/or garlic
2-4 tablespoons of butter (depends on how much asparagus you have)
squeeze of lemon
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add butter. When butter hot, add shallots/garlic, turn heat to low and fry until fragrant. 2. Add asparagus, cover with a tight-fitting lid (important -if lid isn’t tight, the steam escapes, you can try using a thin dishtowel under lid and fold ends up over the top of the lid to create a nice seal). Cook on low for 10-12 minutes, depending on how soft you like your asparagus. If your asparagus can’t all fit in one layer in your pan, stir a couple of times during the cooking process. After 8 minutes, take a peek. I usually can tell by cutting part of the stalk with a butter knife and adjust my cooking time.
If it looks like the pan needs more butter, feel free to add another tablespoon in, or just throw in a tablespoon of water. 3. When cooked to your liking, remove asparagus, pour the butter/shallot/garlic mixture over, sprinkle with sea salt, a squeeze of lemon and top with shaved parmesan.