The azaleas and dogwoods are blooming, the spring pollen has coated everything with a fine dusting of yellow and asparagus are back at the farmers market. Spring is finally in full swing! It was hard to contain myself at the market this week–I see all that beautiful (and very temporary) asparagus, and I want to buy it all up. But that would be wrong. Still, I did manage to bring home some lovely, fresh-picked asparagus along with some NC shrimp from Locals Seafood for this pasta dish. I love this pasta. Satisfying, yet much lighter than our heavier winter pasta creations, this recipe was made on the fly with what we found at the market (except lemons–they do not grow here!).
For this dish, use very good quality olive oil, butter and cheese! I’ve started buying organic butter from grass-fed cows and it is expensive, but really wonderful in a dish where you will taste the butter (and no growth hormones!). I saved the trimmings from our asparagus (I wanted more of the pretty tops and less stem in this dish) and I will use the tender stems minced in our veggie risotto tomorrow night!
In theory, this feeds 4 people. But Tom and I were ravenous for some reason, and nearly finished the pot between the two of us, so if you have a hungry household, make a salad to go with this.
Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus and Mushrooms (serves 4)
1 lb. orecchiette pasta (little ears)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh, grass-fed butter
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 lb. fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and ground pepper
Peel and mince the shallot and garlic cloves. Set aside.
Fill a large stock pot with water for pasta. When pasta water boils, add a healthy scoop of salt to the water along with the pasta. Lower heat to medium high and cook pasta for 10 minutes.
While pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan and melt over medium heat. When foam subsides, add shallot and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the asparagus and mushrooms and salt/pepper to taste. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp, lemon juice and zest. Cook until the shrimp are just pink. Do not overlook!
When pasta is done, drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
Add pasta and all vegetables to a large serving bowl. Toss, adding some pasta water to make a light sauce.
Sprinkle with cheese and serve!