Food Friday: Simple Asparagus Pasta


The daffodils have burst into bloom everywhere, the grass is greening up, purple myrtle blooms are popping open, buds are swelling—it’s spring! At least in my little corner of the world (my inlaws, looking at snow today, would probably disagree!). According to one of my favorite local farmers, it is just a couple of weeks before we are eyeball to eyeball with huge quantities of one of spring’s great delights, asparagus.

When asparagus comes to town, we seem to eat it nonstop for the entire length of its brief season. Those leggy green friends need nothing more than a simple steaming and a squeeze of lemon in my book, but they are also delicious lightly roasted or grilled and splashed with a dash of Pacificia Culinaria’s Avocado Blood Orange Oil, mixed into a frittatta or quiche, paired with other spring vegetables in a creamy pasta primavera, pureed in a cream of asaparagus soup, smothered with cheese and ham in a grilled panini…I can’t wait.

One of my favorite easy dishes with asparagus is the humble Asparagus Pasta. This must be the easiest dinner I ever make, but it is also one of the tastiest. This dish can be adapted to feature nearly any fresh vegetable, but tender, fresh asparagus really benefits from this treatment.

And if you’ve always bought your asparagus in the grocery store and eaten it long after it travels many miles from Mexico or California? Unless you are from Mexico or California, do yourself, your palate (and the Earth) a favor this year, and search for a source of delicious, fresh, locally grown asparagus. This is one vegetable that really shows you what eating foods in season is all about. If you’re lucky, you’ll even find a pick-your-own source like my friend Sara has in her upstate New York town. Yum!


What asparagus looks like before it is bunched up and sold at the market.

Asparagus Pasta

1 pound bow tie or rotini pasta

2 bunches asparagus

2 Tablespoons fruity olive oil

1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

dash red pepper flakes

2/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

freshly ground pepper

While pasta is cooking, cut asparagus in two-inch diagonal slices and saute in olive oil until it turns bright green, just a few minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to asparagus.

Add broth and simmer a few minutes. Add drained, cooked pasta to asparagus mixture, and toss until it is warm and well blended. Add Parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper and serve.

P.S. Flaking a little grilled salmon into this dish is a delicious addition, too. Also some fresh peas!

Readers—I’m on the hunt for the perfect Asparagus Lemon Pasta dish. Got one for me to try? And tell me what you do to prepare asparagus, I’m always looking for new ideas!

Also, if you are interested in eating more locally-grown foods, this is the season for sign-ups for Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSA). Look for a CSA or a farmer’s market near you on

With the skyrocketing costs of fuel and trucking being added to your grocery bill, there is more incentive than ever to eat foods grown in your own area.

Our CSA provides us with so many fresh, delicious, organic vegetables, herbs and even flowers each week that we need to split it with another family, plus we spend less than we would for the same amount of well-traveled non-organic produce at the grocery store. Try one this year!


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16 Responses to “Food Friday: Simple Asparagus Pasta”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    Asparagus is one of my very favorite veggies. Roasted, steamed, sauteed, I just love it. Thanks for the recipe – this will be printed and marked as a “must try”.

  2. Kim Says:

    Thanks for the helpful LocalHarvest link! 🙂

    I’m not a hugh fan of asparagus, but my boyfriend loves it. I’ll have to try your pasta dish now.

  3. B. Says:


  4. amy Flood Says:

    we are anxiously awaiting our asparagus to poke its head out of the dirt-for some reason our is always much later than everyone else’s. we had a bountiful harvest last year, i think every member of the family-all 5 of us, got to eat 1 whole spear each! i’m hoping for better results this year so maybe i can make your recipe!

  5. laura Says:

    Not an asparagus lemon pasta dish, but could easily be adapted as such is Giada De Laurentis’s Lemon Spaghetti (from Everyday Italian). Basically it’s pasta, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, and basil. Would be great with some steamed or blanched asparagus added to it. It’s good hot or cold. I was surprised how much I like the Everyday Italian cookbook–she uses lemon in lots of recipes (like her caprese salad is with lemon juice instead of balsamic vinegar).

  6. The Casual Perfectionist Says:

    I love asparagus. Growing up, I always took fresh asparagus for granted because my mom has a HUGE patch of it near her garden. She still cuts and freezes tons of it.

  7. elizabethews Says:

    As it relates to asparagus – did you know that it is nearly impossible to kill an asparagus plant? I have aspargus growing in multiple parts of my yard that has been there for years and years. I never tend to it and it keeps come back – each year stronger than the last. Another asparagus fun fact – you have to watch asparagus very closely because it grows very fast. There is a very short window of opportunity to pick asparagus before it turns into an aspargus tree. And they don’t taste very good.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Katy Says:


    we roast or grill it, in large quantities (one jelly-roll pan full per adult diner) and eat it with a lemon to squeeze and salt. maldon sea salt because we’re caucasian and fancy like that.

    i hardly ever use asparagus in something else. i had a passing fancy for a creamy pasta with asparagus, goat cheese, pecorino & hazelnuts, but if i am honest with myself i like it roasted or grilled best.

    even if it gets burned.
    even if it is undercooked.
    hot or cold.

  9. sdh Says:

    avocado oil? why did i not know about this!? yum!

    i don’t like lemons, but i have a good “spring vegetable” pasta that i will email you later. it involves asparagus, peas, spinach and cream. it’s in a book, not online. how old school.

  10. thelandofka Says:

    I love asparagus, too. I usually just pan fry it with a little olive oil and then throw a little sea salt over it when its done. Unfortunately it is yet another vegetable the kids find “ICKY!!”. Apparently they have no taste buds. 😉

  11. Nicole Says:

    I love asparagus because it seems totally respectable to eat it with your fingers (when it is whole). Other vegetables just don’t work as well without a fork.

  12. Christina Says:

    I LOVE aspargus! I sereiously would be happy to eat nothing but that for weeks at a time. We have some in the fridge right now! I used to always just steam it and serve it with lemon juice and salt, but then I discovered roasting it and I can’t eat it any other way. Soooo good. A friend said she roasts it with toasted pine nuts and balsalmic vinegar, so now I want to try that. I have to admit, tho, I don’t think I’ve ever had it IN anything.

  13. libound Says:

    Thanks Anna, you motivated me! I have been wanting to try a “share” and your link was perfect. Can you believe they have these things on long island? I was pretty sure there wasn’t any dirt left here, but I am wrong! Goody . . . beets.

  14. Maria Says:

    Here’s a favorite from my kitchen… I make it alot and so do my parents at their house…A easy to prepare, and heavenly to eat.
    From Bon Appetit but they give credit to chef Bill Granger from Sydney Australia:

    “Linguine with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Basil” SERVES 2
    ….but also LOVE it with angel hair pasta…and I always DOUBLE the whole recipe because you will love to eat this for lunch the next day!

    8 ounces pasta cook in salted water to desired texture
    Meanwhile heat 3 tbs olive oil over med hi heat
    Add 1 or 2 cloves garlic and 1 tbs chopped red jalapeno chiles(I skip the chiles)
    Saute 1 minute
    Add 1/2 Cup dry white wine and 1 tbs butter. Boil 2 minutes.
    Add 12 large uncooked shrimp, 12 slender asparagus(cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces, and 1 tbs fresh lemon juice. Toss until aspar. is just tender, and shrimp opaque in center (approx 3 minutes)
    Drain pasta, and add to skillet; add 2 Cups sliced basil leaves and toss until basil wilts and sauce coats pasta( 1 minute)
    Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and lemon wedges and DEVOUR….and know that THIS is what heaven tastes like.

    Also….for an appetizer or side dish,or lunch
    Michael Chiarello from “” has a great dish that involves
    wrapping 3 slender ASPARAGUS-es with thinly sliced prosciutto in a bundle, laying them in roasting pan with a salt and pepper sprinkling, a drizzle of olive oil and some freshly grated parm cheese over them, then roasting for a bit..See that link for the finer details, but it’s delish!

  15. amy Flood Says:

    if anyone is in the New Jersey area, there is a year-round organic co-op called purple dragon ( there are “pods” all throughout new jersey and you can even “host” a pod at your home and have fresh organic fruits and veggies delivered right to your home!

  16. Suzanne Says:

    Thanks for the link. I have to find a new farmer stand to frequent around here. That’s probably one of the best things about moving to Florida. We have farm stands everywhere and get great stuff year round. I am truly spoiled.

    Asparagus is eaten a lot here. We like roasting with a touch of olive oil, sea salt, pepper and rosemary. It’s also the favorite fondue accompaniment.

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