Spring in New England tends to be pretty rainy. And windy. If I'm honest its my least favorite month. It feel as if I'm waiting for Summer to come rather than enjoying Spring. However, I do enjoy the abundance of asparagus, which is one of my favorite vegetables. Asparagus is one of those rare vegetables that I love any way its cooked- steamed, roasted, sautéed, grilled, you name it.
Because of the rain and wind this day, I was craving a comforting bowl of pasta for dinner. And I had a bundle of asparagus that needed to be used like yesterday. So I just sautéed the asparagus, whipped up this dreamy, velvety garlic cream sauce and tossed it all together with some fancy short cut pasta and it was everything I wanted in one comforting bowl. And it only took me 30 minutes to prepare! 30 minutes is my ideal length of time for making dinner. Cooking is my way of unwinding and creating whatever I'd like after a long day at work, so shorter than that doesn't feel like quite enough time to chill and too much longer than 30 minutes and my already tired legs start screaming for the couch.
This recipe is pretty straight forward. You'll want to make sure to blend the ingredients super well or it won't be as creamy. I found that my smaller blender attachment works best here and I just blend in two batches. But if you have a high-speed blender you're golden.
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Asparagus
8 oz Short Cut Pasta (Rigatoni, Penne etc.)
1 Bunch of Asparagus, ends trimmed then chopped into 2" long pieces
1Tbsp + 2 tsp Olive Oil, Divided
1 Cup Onion, Chopped
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
3 Cups Zucchini, peeled and chopped*
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme, Finely Chopped (or 1/4 tsp dried thyme)
1 Cup Plant Milk- I used unsweetened original coconut milk (the boxed kind)
1/2 Cup Frozen Peas, Thawed
In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, sauté the trimmed and cut asparagus in 2 teaspoons of olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper for about 5-7 minutes, or until they are tender-crisp. Put the asparagus into a container and set aside. Wait for the pan to cool down for about 10 minutes before proceeding. Meanwhile, fill a large pasta pot with water, and start bringing It to a boil.
Once the pan the asparagus was sautéed in has cooled a bit, turn the heat on to medium-low and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the onion, garlic and zucchini, salt, red pepper and thyme. Sweat this mixture for about 10 minutes or until everything is throughly cooked. It is important not to rush this. You don't want this mixture to brown because it will turn your whole sauce brown.
Once the onion and zucchini mixture is soft, transfer to a blender and add the plant milk and cornstarch. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth and velvety. For this, I had to blend in two batches in a smaller single serving attachment because my smaller attachment blends better. Season the pasta water with a big pinch of salt and cook to package directions.
Pour the blended mixture back into the sauce pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture simmers. Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and transfer it into the sauce pan with the garlic sauce still simmering on low heat. It will look like too much sauce at first but the pasta will absorb the sauce. Add asparagus and peas and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning, serve immediately. I like to top this pasta with a hefty amount of cracked black pepper and an extra sprinkle of fresh thyme.
Let me know how this recipe worked out for you!