Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Quick And Easy Summer Meals...Fettuccine With Mushrooms And Asparagus

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I have fallen in love with asparagus this Spring.  Don't get me wrong. I have always adored them; but this year it's like falling in love all over again.  You know that feeling...the little smirk on your face, the twinkle in your eyes.  It must be a metabolic thing, just like the time I fell in love with tomatoes when I was pregnant with my first child. All I wanted were those big juicy tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and basil; and big glasses of tomato juice in mid morning with saltine crackers.

Even though I haven't posted an asparagus recipe this year (there are tons of them from the past) we have been having them at least twice a week.  We love them cold with olive oil and vinegar, sometimes with chopped eggs on top, and with Hollandaise Sauce once in awhile.  I think I am finally coming to the end of this love affair and I am now looking forward to the summer bounty.

Morels are in season now but I haven't found them at the local markets.  If you find them where you live, you must buy some; but don't fall in love with them, they are quite pricey and will break your heart (as well as your pocketbook).   Only entertain the idea for a fling or a one night stand.

Baby Bellas, on the other hand, are easy to find and  less pricey.  They are available at my local Costco but they come in a big box, So you have them with steak one night and use the rest for something like this.  They keep well in the produce compartment of the fridge.

*The main thing about this recipe is that it is cooked in the classic Italian fashion by adding the al dente pasta to the pan with the sauce and letting it finish cooking there. Instead of swelling with more salted water in the final minutes, it will absorb as mush flavor as possible from the essence of the sauteed mushrooms and the rest of the sauce.

You will enjoy this pasta.  It is substantial and filling enough to serve on its own with a glass of chilled French rose.  If you must serve dessert, make it a light one!

Fettuccine With Mushrooms And Asparagus

Serves 4


Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red onion cut into small dice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp cloth and thinly sliced (or Baby Bellas)
1/2 cup homemade vegetable (or chicken) stock or store-bought, low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1/2-1 pound thin or pencil asparagus, thinly sliced on the bias, tip end left about 1 1/2 inches long
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 pound dried fettuccine or pappardelle
2 tablespoons shredded basil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


1. Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, then add 2 tablespoons salt.

2. While waiting for the water to boil, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper flakes and sauté quickly to keep the ingredients from scorching. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the mushrooms darken slightly in color and are softened but still holding their shape, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and asparagus and cook, stirring gently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, immediately reduce the heat to keep it from scorching, and cook for several minutes.

3. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a sauté pan over low heat, shaking the pan, just until they are warm and fragrant, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes from the time the water returns to a boil (10 minutes if you are using pappardelle).

5. Add the basil, butter, pine nuts, and cheese to the pan with the mushrooms and toss well.

6. Reserve a cup or so of the pasta's cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the mushrooms, asparagus, and sauce. If the sauce seems too dry, stir in a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Toss, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and more pepper flakes if necessary.

7. Present the pasta in a bowl and serve family style from the center of the table, or divide among individual plates.

A little Parmigiano on top is not a bad idea!

Adapted from Nightly Specials: 125 Recipes for Spontaneous, Creative Cooking at Home
All photos Lindaraxa


  1. OMG, this looks amazingly wonderful. Have made a copy and will prepare this very soon, looks delicious.


    1. Thanks Carolyn, I did add more asparagus than the recipe called for, about a lbs.

  2. Gosh, this looks absolutely divine, and I shall make this recipe this weekend. I've not forgotten the delicious pea and asparagus salad that you sent my way from last year - so fresh and easy to make. We all adore asparagus in our household and, like you, fall in love with it each spring. As for morels, well yes, those too are worthy of a love affair.

    1. It will be a success, seeing the asparagus and mushrooms you get out there. Let me know how you liked it.

  3. The photos were so gorgeous I cooked this for dinner tonight -- mmmmn. Yes, it really helps to finish cooking the pasta in the pan with the sauce. I just love your blog

  4. this looks like a good, simple, but effective, recipe to remember....


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