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
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
- Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Transfer pasta to large wide bowl.
- Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté 1 minute. Add shiitake mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté shiitake mixture until soft, about 6 minutes. Add lemon juice; cook 1 minute. Add broth and lemon peel. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Add asparagus to mushroom mixture; simmer until asparagus turns bright green, about 2 minutes. Add chives and remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir until butter melts. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Top with shaved Asiago and serve.
Serves 4 to 6.
- Pasta, Main Dishes
- North American