Creamy Asparagus Pasta with Mushrooms, Lemon, and Pecorino
This farfalle tossed in bright green sauce basically screams spring—whether you serve it hot or cold.
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Too much asparagus might be the definition of a fancy problem, but there I was, looking down at three hefty bunches I impulse-bought on sale. My usual move when faced with a surfeit of veg is to blitz it into a puréed soup, but then I wondered—could asparagus be transformed into a silky, pastel-green sauce for pasta?
The answer, I discovered through trial and error, is a resounding “yes,” especially when you blend peas into the sauce and keep it nice and green by adding a handful of fresh arugula (asparagus, I remembered while testing, isn’t the prettiest shade when cooked).
Morels, shallots, lemon zest, Pecorino—these are the add-ins I wound up loving the most, since they play well together and all but scream spring. Enjoy this asparagus pasta recipe hot—and then (if you’re like me), enjoy it even more the next day straight from the fridge, with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and a generous drizzle of olive oil.
- 1½ lb. asparagus (see footnote), bottom inch removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 8 oz. mushrooms, such as morels, chanterelles, or shiitakes, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced ¼-in. thick (3 cups)
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- ⅔ cup finely chopped shallots
- 2 cups packed arugula leaves
- 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 lb. farfalle (bowtie) pasta
- 1 cup packed finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
- 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Note: Seek out asparagus that are ½ inch thick (thinner asparagus can be stringy, and thicker can be woody). Peeling the stalks in step 1 is essential as fibrous bottoms make for a far less creamy sauce.