I should have known that our new little grocery store in Chicago wouldn't have fennel. The fiancée and I had been planning a crazy sardine pasta, having been inspired by the New York Times recent article about 11 healthy foods, but once the fennel was missing, the recipe quickly fell apart. We decided to make something simple instead using the availble decent looking asparagus and incredibly cheap lemons. I didn't have an exact recipe, but I knew that could find something to do with all of these ingredients.
I'm not sure how I found Robin Robertson's recipe for pasta with asparagus and pine nuts, or why the source seemed like a good one, but I was drawn to the addition of the pine nuts, an ingredient I had ready-to-go in the pantry. We didn't have as much pasta as the recipe called for, nor any fresh dill, resulting in a dish that was mostly asparagus and lemon with some pasta mixed in. I'm not sure if that would have worked or not. This simple recipe turned out really well—it was fresh and light, and a perfect summer dinner.
Read more: In Season: Meyer Lemons
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound pasta
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- Salt and pepper
Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat. It will take about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Pour the olive oil into the skillet over medium heat. Toss in the garlic and the asparagus. Cook until the asparagus has softened, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. When it's done, remove from the pot and toss directly into the pan with the asparagus. Cook for a minute. Turn off the heat.
Add the lemon juice and zest and season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Serve up.