Weekend cooking can afford to be more complicated, but often unvarnished preparation makes for better food. Case in point: a straightforward pasta tossed with shiitakes, shallots, and asparagus.
With a lightweight sauce devoid of tomatoes or cream, there's room for only one thing to shine — the market-fresh vegetables. A butter-and-vegetable-broth-based sauce adds creaminess, and lemon peel a sunny, warm flavor.
For an exercise in restraint that's stunning in its simplicity, read more.
12 ounces spaghetti Serves 4 to 6.
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 4)
1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut crosswise in thirds
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
4 ounces shaved Asiago cheese
12 ounces spaghetti
Serves 4 to 6.