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Penne with Asparagus and Lemon Cream Sauce


1 pound penne pasta
1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 cup heavy cream
Juice and zest from 1 organic lemon
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly grated pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim the asparagus and cut into 1 or 2 inch pieces. When the water comes to a boil, drop in the asparagus pieces and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove from the boiling water with a sieve or slotted spoon and drop into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Bring the cooking water back to a boil, and then cook the pasta according to package directions to an al dente texture.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet over low heat and stir in the garlic. Saute the garlic in the butter until fragrant but not browned, then pour in the cream and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until reduced by about 1/2, with large shiny bubbles on the surface.

Add the cooked, drained pasta, lemon juice and lemon zest and toss to coat evenly. Add half the Parmesan and then the drained, cooked asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook until just heated through, and serve immediately topped with more Parmesan. If the pasta sauce is too thick, it can be thinned with a little of the pasta water.

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This is here as a reminder for something else I want to try