Spring food seems simpler to me. A little lighter and a little faster, because hey, we all want to be outside if the weather is a little warmer.
- 1 pound long cut pasta (I used Giada De Laurentiis Pasta from Target)
- 1 large bunch asparagus ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese (may sub cream cheese if needed)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 8 ounces feta cheese, finely crumbled or grated
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Preheat your grill to high heat.
- Place the asparagus in a baking dish, coat with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Grill the asparagus spears for 5-10 minutes, until nicely charred and just fork tender, turning them every few minutes so that they brown relatively evenly. Remove and chop into thirds.
- Alternately, you may roast the asparagus by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the asparagus in a roasting pan or on a baking baking sheet and toss with the 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until tender and crisp. Remove and chop into thirds.
- Heat a large skillet with high sides over medium-high heat, add the butter, cream, milk, and mascarpone and feta cheeses. Bring to a boil and simmer until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper and a good pinch of pepper, whisking until the cheese has fully melted. Simmer the sauce 3-5 minutes until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Add the pasta and asparagus to the sauce and toss well. Cook another 1-2 minutes to warm through. Add the parsley and toss. Serve immediately with fresh feta or parmesan.
If your skillet is not big enough to toss the pasta in transfer everything to a large pot or serving bowl and toss well.