With spring on the horizon and asparagus freely available in our grocery stores, here is a quick pasta dish that is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a dinner party.
WHAT YOU NEED
For the asparagus
1 pound thin asparagus spears, cut into 2” pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon (zest from half, plus slices from the other half)
For the pasta
8 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup Parmesan shavings
2 tablespoons Italian seasoned panko
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, for garnish
HOW TO MAKE IT
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roast the asparagus:
Cut off the tough bottom ends of the asparagus and cut it into 2” pieces. Add the stalks to a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the asparagus with the olive oil, and add the kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Slice the lemon in half crosswise. Thinly slice 4 wheels from one half of the lemon, then add them to the baking sheet. Zest the other half of the lemon, sprinkle it onto the asparagus and mix with your hands to coat. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until tender when pierced by a fork at the thickest part. The timing will depend on the thickness of the asparagus spears.
Cook the pasta:
Meanwhile, bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente (taste testing a minute or two before the package instructions indicate). Do not drain.
In the serving bowl, stir together the olive oil, oregano, grated garlic and chilis. When the pasta is done, use tongs to transfer the pasta from the boiling water into the bowl with the oil mixture without draining. Toss with the olive oil mixture until coated. Add the roasted asparagus and toss. (If desired, transfer to a serving platter or individual plates.)
Top with the Parmesan shavings and panko. Add basil leaves and serve immediately.