Although I often approach pasta with a very strategic (yet delicious) game plan, sometimes I just need to step away from all the rules and just enjoy a simple, seasonal dish. I was not in the mood for meat or fish or beans or dairy. I was simply looking for a QUICK and TASTY way to use up the last lovely bunch of asparagus that was hanging out in my veggie drawer.
Since I am headed out to the East coast tomorrow, I have been trying to use up all the odds and ends around the kitchen. Lots of lemon and some asparagus were on the list.
These are the kind of times when it is so key to have some pantry items to choose from. Whether it’s pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa, lentils, or barley it is definitely essential to have some pantry staples on hand!
You don’t need them all, but you definitely need, at the very least, a handful of your favorites.
I’m forever stocking up on lot of pantry items BUT if I had to narrow it down to my top, top, top five (and I am being specific here) it would have to be:
1. Olive oil (need I say more?)
2. Whole wheat couscous (fastest food ever and I love the texture!)
3. Garbanzo beans (great texture, love them in salad, soup, chili, pasta….)
4. Olives (salty goodness – give any dish a little zing)
5. Canned salmon (so crazy nutritious and such and easy way to work some power food in to any meal of the day). Ask me on another day and this top five might change but for now these are definitely my faves!
What are your top five pantry staples?? I’m talking your absolute must, must, must, must haves?
Asparagus And Lemon Pasta
Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 4 oz whole-wheat linguini
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- The zest of one lemon
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Before adding the pasta you want to blanch the asparagus, so add the asparagus to the pot and allow to cook for two minutes before removing with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside. Once the water comes back to a boil, cook the pasta according to the package be sure to reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water.
In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large non-stick sauté pan over a medium high heat. Add garlic and allow to cook until nice and fragrant (about two minutes).
Toss asparagus into the oil and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about four minutes and then toss the cooked pasta into the pan.
Mix everything together, adding some of the pasta water to add a little extra moisture.
Finish by stirring in the cheese, parsley and lemon zest. Adjust seasonings and enjoy!!
Nutrients per 1/2 of recipe; Calories: 289; Total Fat: 10.4g; Saturated Fat: 1.9g; Cholesterol: 14mg; Sodium: 81mg; Carbohydrate: 47.7g; Dietary Fiber: 8.6g; Sugars: 2.4g; Protein: 11.6g