lemon-walnut asparagus linguine

I try. TRY. to eat with the seasons now. in chicago, nothing was ever in season, so I ended up with tough kale in the summer, black basil in november, grainy tomatoes in february. it didn't bother me, because the produce was all from other places anyway, and would've sucked no matter what by the time it arrived to the corner trader joe's I used to shop at. now I go by feel, and try to make dinner around the things that are at their best that day. in california, the season is long, so this is normally a good strategy. but no matter where you are, to eat asparagus in september is the purest form of self-loathing. it's small. it's wilty. limp stalks with sponge-y toothbrushy tips. disgusting. go away.

spring is the only time to really capitalize on good, tender, ideal asparagus, and this pasta was built to do that: featuring blended and whole asparagus, a shit ton of garlic, and a showering of lemon zest that tricks you into believing summer is way closer than it is.

bright side? that also means bikini season is much further away. eat some carbs while you still can.

this recipe is adapted from a food52 recipe and I guess got picked as a photo of the week on their instagram which was pretty cool.

lemon walnut asparagus linguine | italian enough

RECIPE

Effortful time: 20 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

YOU NEED

  • 8 oz. linguine pasta — I used whole grain, and thought the nuttiness was nice

  • 1 lb. asparagus, sliced on the bias

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 lemon, zested + juiced

  • Romano or parmesan cheese for dusting

MAKE IT

  1. Cook the pasta to VERY al dente, in saltier-than-usual water. It needs to finish in the sauce. Reserve a cup of the water and drain. 
  2. Prep the asparagus, leaving the tips whole and the bodies sliced at about 1/2". In the finished pasta pot, heat the garlic in oil until fragrant, then add asparagus and pasta water together. This will make your sauce. Cook this, covered, for about 6 minutes on medium.
  3. Optional step, but a worthwhile one: hit it with an immersion blender so that about 1/4 of the total mix is blended. If you can avoid blending the asparagus tips, do so — the blended ones look like broccoli carnage (but we all make mistakes).
  4. Stir this all together to combine. If you want to throw some white wine in there, who's going to judge you? You don't even have to ask. Throw in the lemon zest and the squeeze in the juices.
  5. Toss in your pasta and slosh that around to combine. Cook for about 2 more minutes on low, just to let it absorb. This is why you undercooked that pasta. Didn't you?
  6. Top with walnuts and cheese. Serve with a giant glass of something and feel proud that you just made a 100% bastard cream sauce without any cream. Science~
  7. Pairing: obviously sauvignon blanc.