- 1 bunch - 3/4 lb (350 g) fresh asparagus spears
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons (5-6 g) fresh mint (or mixed fresh herbs: oregano, parsley, basil)
- 4 Tablespoons (60 ml) heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) unsalted butter, melted or very very soft
- 4.5 ounces (125 g) spaghetti, linguine, or tagliatelle
- 2 ounces (50g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Pasta with asparagus and mint is a quick dish, with a few tricks to enhance the flavor. The asparagus is chopped small, to cook quickly for freshest flavor. The cream is heated to almost boiling, and steeped with crushed garlic, so that the flavor will be carried throughout the finished dish via the sauce.
tricks for quick cooking
First of all, set a large pot of water over high heat, and bring it to a boil. You’ll be using two burners: one for the pasta, and one for the sauce. The pasta is the part that takes the longest. You know how to cook the pasta, so just proceed over on that burner, and I’ll coach you through the sauce. Drain the pasta whenever it’s ready!
steep the cream
Smash 1 clove of the garlic, and put it in a clean mug or measuring cup with the cream. Cover it tightly, and microwave in 30 second bursts until the cream is very hot but not quite boiling. Be careful, the cream will expand as it heats. Let the hot cream sit while you proceed.
chop the vegetables
Trim or snap off the tough ends from the asparagus. Chop the asparagus into small pieces, so they’ll cook quickly. Finely chop one clove garlic. Mince the mint and any other herbs you’re using.
assemble the sauce
Heat olive oil and butter in a separate large saucepan or skillet, and sauté the chopped asparagus, garlic, and herbs. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, until the asparagus softens. Strain and add the flavored cream – discard the steeped garlic, you don’t need it anymore. Bring the asparagus/cream sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the cream starts to thicken – this will take about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
drain pasta and combine
Drin the pasta thoroughly. Add about half the Parmesan cheese to the asparagus/cream sauce and stir well. Add the drained pasta and toss to combine.
Serve at once, with extra Parmesan on the side if you like.