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Red Pepper Fettuccine with Asparagus Lemon Sauce

February 25, 2009
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red-pepper-fetuccini-with-asparagus-lemon-sauceAfter a torturous flight back home from Seattle, I was looking forward to going to the super market and filling up my fridge with lots of fresh produce and yummy things to eat.
I bought my usual supplies including a bunch of asparagus. I had so much fun working with it last week in the lasagna that I decided to buy another bunch. Didn’t know what I wanted to do with it but knew I wanted a one-pot pasta meal. When I think of asparagus and pasta, white sauce and lemon come to mind. I wanted to add a protein to the dish and decided on prosciutto. A small amount adds a big flavor punch to the dish. Usually the white sauce consists of cream. I wanted to lighten it up and decided to make a roux, which is a mixture of flour and fat cooked, together and used as a thickening agent. In this case I already had 2 tablespoons olive oil in the frying pan – so I didn’t need to add any extra fat and I used low fat milk for the sauce. Overall it was a very light dish. The lemon zest adds immense flavor. I used pecorino romano as a garnish before serving- again, this is a great example of using a big flavor ingredient in small amounts to get maximum results. We had a Merlot and a freshly baked baguette from the local store!

  • ½ pound fresh fettuccine- any flavor you like will do
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, low fat or regular
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano, shredded

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic, cook for 3-5 minutes on medium high. Add the prosciutto and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the onion mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the milk and whisk until smooth. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer- it will thicken up. Add the asparagus and cook on low for 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Add the cooked pasta to the asparagus mixture and stir well. Taste for salt. Top the pasta with cheese before serving.

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