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Today's Special: Penne with Asparagus and Spring Herbs

Today's Special: Penne with Asparagus and Spring Herbs

¡Feliz Primavera! (That means Happy Spring in Spanish) Today is the first day of spring and I am incredibly excited for warmer days, fewer clothes, and fresh vegetables. In honor of the day, I wanted to provide you all with a recipe that highlights one of Spring's most covetable vegetables: asparagus. Wondering why I highlighted that all? Tonight's quick, easy dinner meal is completely inclusive*: it's healthy, vegetarian, and dairy free. Don't have any specific dietary needs? Save this recipe in your collection to use when a vegetarian or lactose intolerant friend comes to dinner. To read the receta (that means recipe in Spanish),

Penne with Asparagus and Spring Herbs
From Vegetarian Times magazine

1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
8 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 cup low-fat, firm silken tofu
4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
2 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
8 oz. medium carrots (about 3), peeled
12 oz. dried penne pasta

  1. Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, combine broth and garlic; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer to blender or food processor. Add tofu, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste; process until smooth and creamy.
  4. Return to saucepan. Warm over low heat but do not boil. Stir in chives, tarragon, parsley and lemon zest. Cover and keep warm. (Sauce can be prepared ahead. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat before continuing with recipe.)
  5. Peel asparagus stalks, if desired, and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths. Cut carrots into 1 3/4-by 14-inch sticks.
  6. Add pasta to boiling water, stirring to prevent sticking. Cook, stirring often, until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes.
  7. While pasta is cooking, place carrots in a steamer basket over boiling water. Top with asparagus. Cover and steam until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. Drain pasta and transfer to large, warm bowl. Add vegetables and reserved herb sauce; toss to coat. Serve hot with lemon wedges for squeezing, if desired.

Serves 4.

*Please note: I understand that I was being misleading when I stated that this recipe includes everyone as obviously it does not include those who dislike asparagus. I apologize in advance to all of you who refuse to eat asparagus. And if you're allergic to it, I apologize too!

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