Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Asparagus, Peas & Penne

Springtime! Asparagus season! The conclusion of Passover! All of these thoughts were swimming around my head yesterday as I tried to figure out a menu for dinner. "A big pasta feast" is what Spencer had announced, and we all agreed. I had purchased a few of pounds of asparagus a day earlier with no special plan in mind. Am I the only one out there who buys excessive amounts of produce on impulse?

And no-so-coincidentally, I received an email with link to a Martha Stewart photo slideshow with dozens of asparagus recipes. No disrespect to Julia Child, but forget about the Julie & Julia blog, I could spend the next months and a half making each of these recipes. Camembert & asparagus bread pudding, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, asparagus soup... (note to self: don't forget to make asparagus soup this month!) And then I spied a recipe for asparagus, peas and radishes with fresh tarragon I had made from an issue of Every Day Food a few years back. If you have never tried this combination of flavors, it's unbelievable. (Yes, I know, you don't see any fresh tarragon in the photo above. Oops.)

But, pasta was clearly to be the plan for the night. Inspired by the asparagus and pea combination, as well as another asparagus and pasta recipe in the slideshow, a very simple idea formed for dinner. Yum, yum, yum.

And, a little-known fact. When we were (older) kids, our family drove 70 miles one way to visit a pick-your-own asparagus farm. Seriously.

Asparagus, Peas & Penne
Inspired by a few Martha Stewart asparagus recipes

8-10 oz penne, or another short pasta
2 lbs fresh asparagus
1/2 lb frozen green peas
1/4 C chopped fresh tarragon
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 C shredded or shaved parmesan cheese

Bring large pot of salted water to boil and add penne. Set timer 3 minutes shorter than recommended cook time on box. Meanwhile, wash asparagus, trim off ends and cut into 1 1/2" lengths. When timer sounds, add asparagus to boiling pot of pasta and boil for two additional minutes. Add the frozen peas, return to boil, and allow to finish cooking for one more minute.

Reserve 1/2 C of pasta water before draining everything together. Don't worry about getting all of the water out while draining. Transfer to a bowl and toss with tarragon, olive oil and salt & pepper. Add some reserved pasta water, or not. Serve with parmesan cheese.


  1. The end of passover was celebrated at our house as well. Only we had bread. Oh, how I've missed my bread.

  2. Hi, there,

    Found your link via the Facebook Jamie Oliver fan site. HAD to follow, as we share some interests in common.

    Becky LEACH