Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Asparagus Alfredo

This electric-green sauce has a delicate, sweet flavor, gently enhanced by a suggestion of onion, garlic, and rosemary. Serve with fettuccine and add your favorite vegetables, like asparagus, broccoli, or mushrooms.

3 shallots or 1 onion -- peeled and finely chopped
1 small garlic clove -- finely chopped
1 pinch dried rosemary
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil -- or virgin olive oil
1 pound asparagus -- washed under cold running water and cut into 2-inch lengths
white pepper to taste

Saute shallots, garlic, and rosemary. Drizzle with the oil and stir to lightly coat. Cook over low heat, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until shallots are tender, about 10 minutes. Bring a large saucepan with steamer basket to a boil. Add asparagus and steam until tender, about 4 - 6 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and cool completely under cold running water to stop the cooking and to set the color. Drain and pat dry. In a food processor or blender, puree the asparagus with the reserved cooking liquid and the shallots and garlic to form a thick, slightly textured sauce. Taste, then season lightly with pepper.

1 lb spinach fettuccine or linguine
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups fat-free half and half
1⁄4 tsp each salt, pepper and ground nutmeg
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add garlic; cook over low heat 1 minute or until fragrant. Whisk in flour, then slowly whisk in half and half until well combined. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg, and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Add Asparagus puree. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water as box directs. Drain pasta. Add sauce and toss to coat.

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