‘Tis the season

Fresh asparagus from Yakima arrived at my farmer’s market last weekend. I bought a bunch, and meant to add half of it to this dish, but decided at the last minute to add it all, for what ended up being a very asparagus-heavy hot pasta salad. What a good way to celebrate the season.

I seem to be in a fight with my flickr account. Apologies for the lack of photo.

Asparagus with Penne, Shrimp, and Goat Cheese
Recipe 109 of 365

Pasta is a long-standing go-to for simple meals, but sometimes when I’m tired it’s hard for me to look past the jar of pasta sauce I keep on hand for such nights. Cook this as is, or add chopped artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, or a little heavy cream to the shrimp as it sears. This one is heavy on the vegetables.

TIME: 20 minutes
MAKES: 2 large servings

2 cups penne (preferably whole wheat)
3/4 pound asparagus
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 – 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (your choice)
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (optional)

Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Trim the asparagus and cut it into 1” pieces, and take the tails off the shrimp, if desired.

When the water boils, add the pasta, and put on a timer for 2 minutes less than however long the package says the pasta takes. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the hot skillet, then the garlic. Cook the garlic for just a few seconds, stirring, then add the shrimp and cook for a minute or two on each side, or until cooked through. If the shrimp is done before the timer goes off, remove it from the heat.

About 2 minutes before the pasta is done (when there’s still a thin crunchy white ring in the center, but the outsides are cooked), add the asparagus to the pasta water. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set it aside for the sauce, and cook the pasta and the asparagus for the remaining 2 minutes.

Just before the pasta’s done, add the butter to the shrimp pan and reheat the shrimp over medium heat. Drain the pasta and asparagus, add them to the shrimp pan, and toss until the butter has melted, adding a little reserved pasta water if the mixture seems dry. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the goat cheese and the optional chives, and serve immediately.

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Filed under farmer's market, Pasta, recipe, shellfish

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