8

Asparagus Pasta with Morels and Asparagus Mint Pesto

Total Time
40 min
Prep
30 min
Cook
10 min
Serves
6
Difficulty
Easy
Jean-Georges makes this dish and it’s spectacular. To cut calories and points, I got inspired to noodle around with the recipe. This version has the same flavors and the same silky quality, minus a lot of the calories. In the summer, sometimes we substitute the pasta noodles with zucchini spaghetti we make using the handy Spiralizer.
Ingredients

uncooked asparagus

18 spear(s), medium, woody ends snapped off and discarded

fresh mint leaves

1 cup(s), loosely packed

extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup(s)

water

2 Tbsp, cold

garlic clove(s)

1 medium clove(s), cut in half

green hot chili peppers

1 Tbsp, Thai, one chile, stemmed and cut in half

table salt

¼ tsp, or to taste

fresh mushroom(s)

1½ cup(s), morel

uncooked asparagus

12 spear(s), medium

extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp

uncooked refrigerated fresh pasta

8 oz, angel hair

table salt

¼ tsp

black pepper

¼ tsp

fresh mint leaves

2 Tbsp, 8 leaves, cut into thin strips

grated Pecorino Romano cheese

2 oz, grated on a Microplane

lime zest

1 Tbsp, from one lime

fresh lime(s)

½ item(s), cut into four wedges

Instructions

  1. To make the pesto: Fill a large bowl with water and ice to make an ice-water bath. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Salt the water, then add the medium asparagus and cook for about 5 minutes until tender. Remove the asparagus from the water using tongs (do not drain the water), then shock in the ice-water bath until fully cooled. Remove from the ice-water bath and blot dry with paper towels. Chop the asparagus and place it in a blender or food processor. Add the mint, oil, cold water, garlic, chile, and salt and process until smooth, adding more water if the mixture is too thick. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  2. To make the pasta: To clean the morels, fill a bowl with cold water, add the morels, and swish them around in the water. Remove from the water and repeat with two more changes of water. Dry with paper towels and cut the morels in half lengthwise. Cut the tips off of the asparagus and, using a mandolin or “Y” vegetable peeler, cut the jumbo asparagus into long julienne strips to resemble noodles. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the morels and asparagus tips and sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, return the asparagus blanching water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook 30 seconds under al dente according to the package directions. Add the asparagus “noodles” and cook for another 30 seconds, until both are al dente. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta and asparagus “noodles to the pan with the morels, season with salt and pepper, and toss well, adding enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten it. Toss in the mint. Spoon the pesto over the bottom of 6 large bowls and arrange the pasta in the center. Grate some cheese on top and finish with the lime zest. Serve each with a lime wedge.
  3. Serving size: 2 c pasta/asparagus/mushroom mixture plus 2 oz sauce
Notes
For an easy way to decrease points, reduce the amount of cheese and oil you use. You can use 1 cup of spiralized zucchini strips (white part only) to 8 ounces of pasta.

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