Spring is in full force at the moment and that means lots of lovely fresh veggies, but even more importantly asparagus is in season right now. I always feel that Spring has well and truly done her magic when you see asparagus hitting the shelves. So I have a lovely asparagus recipe for you today – this asparagus pasta with peas, lemon, and mint. This pasta is light and refreshing and just another way to enjoy asparagus. It’s also a great way to get the kiddos to eat asparagus, as I know from personal experience that this can be a challenge.
How to make Asparagus Pasta with Lemon and Mint:
First up you will need a good vegetable peeler and a little patience. Shave the asparagus spears one by one, that’s the patience bit. The sharper your peeler the quicker you will get this done, just be careful of your fingers. Once the asparagus is peeled this is the hardest part done.
Once you have toasted the pine nuts, set your pasta to cook. Making sure to keep about 1/4 cup of water from the nearly cooked pasta, this water will help to make your sauce. The starch in the water works as an emulsifier, so when it hits the butter and cheese it will thicken up your sauce. I like to keep this sauce light, not too thick and just enough to soak cover the pasta, so I add 1/4 cup of pasta water. If you prefer a thicker sauce and I get that, then add one tablespoon of water at a time until you have the result you want.
So this is an asparagus pasta but I like to add some peas into this to give it a bit more flavour, the sweetness of the peas works well beside that strong asparagus flavour. Once you’ve cooked the asparagus, spring onions and garlic in the butter then it’s time to add some more flavour. Mint is my herb of choice for this recipe, peas and mint are the very best of friends so I’m not breaking up that love-in, mint is also really fresh and works well against the asparagus. If you are not keen on mint then you could try fresh thyme or parsley, as that should also work very well. Lemon juice and zest adds a zesty freshness and brings out the flavour of the asparagus.
I use linguine for this asparagus pasta but spaghetti or tagliatelle would work well too. I haven’t tried this with a whole grain pasta as I think this may be too strong for this kind of dish. If you can, buy the best pasta you can afford, it really will make a difference especially when it comes to that starchy water for your sauce.
Now, I use full-fat salted butter for this dish, butter works so well with asparagus and it gives a lovely creaminess to the sauce in this recipe. However, if you prefer, or if you want to make this vegan then a good olive oil will work very well too. I always use full fat and salted butter, that’s just a personal preference. I have a slight butter addiction, that’s just the way I am, it may be in my DNA. Parmesan cheese makes the sauce in this dish rich and salty however if you are vegetarian then make sure you use a vegetarian parmesan and if you want to make this vegan then omit the cheese, you could try a heaped tablespoon of vegan cream cheese.
Serve it up:
When it comes to serving up your asparagus pasta a good shaving of parmesan is essential, as is fresh cracked black pepper. I like to squeeze a little extra lemon juice over my pasta but that is entirely up to you. This asparagus pasta is best eaten straight away but I have eaten it cold and it was just as nice, this could be just my taste buds though. It will keep in the fridge for a day or two but do bear on mind that it really is best served immediately.
Asparagus Pasta with Lemon and Mint
- 250 g Asparagus shaved into ribbons
- 3 spring onions (scallions) sliced thinly
- 40 g pine nuts toasted
- 80 g frozen garden peas
- 2 fat cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter I used salted butter
- 200 g linguine
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 or 5 mint leaves chopped + more for garnish
- The zest and juice of half a lemon keep the other half for serving
- 30 g parmesan cheese finely grated + more for serving
- 1/4 cup water from the pasta
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until golden brown then set aside.
- Place the frozen peas in a bowl of cold water and leave to defrost.
- Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Save 1/4 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Using a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus into thin ribbons.Heat the butter in a large saute pan, once the butter has melted add the asparagus, spring onions. salt and garlic and cook over a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Drain the peas and add them to the pan.Then add the lemon juice and zest and stir gently.
- Add the parmesan and 1/4 cup of water from the pasta, stir briefly. You should have a light, thin sauce.
- Once the pasta has cooked, drain it then add it to the asparagus. Add the pine nuts and mint and toss gently. Cook for about 2 minutes then turn off the heat.
- Serve with fresh shavings of parmesan, cracked black pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Add a couple of mint leaves as a garnish if you like.
- Calories are approximate.
- This recipe cannot be frozen, it will keep in the fridge for a day or two but is best eaten straight away.
- If you would like to make this a vegan meal then switch out the butter for olive oil and omit the parmesan cheese.
- To keep this vegetarian use a vegetarian parmesan cheese.
More tasty asparagus recipes:
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