I like the element of surprise with this recipe — it isn't an everyday dish. Best of all, it can be customized for just about anyone, be it a dietary restriction or a personal preference, and it can be cooked in an oven or on a grill.
I love continuing to flex my creative cooking muscles with this dish, since you can really incorporate seasonal ingredients on a whim to make the dish more interesting.
Asparagus butter sauce
- 16 asparagus, peeled, blanched and shaved
- 1/4 pound butter
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon juice, to taste
- 1 pound semolina, black squid ink or bucatini pasta
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more
- 1 pound cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
- 2 shallots, finely chopped and sautéed
- 1/2 cup fresh sweet peas
- 1/2 cup carrots, peeled, blanched and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped and blanched
- 1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped and blanched
- 1/3 cup tomatoes, chopped
- 1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/3 cup zucchini, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 cup basil, chopped
- 3 lemons, juiced (1 zested)
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
- 1 cup tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- Ricotta cheese, for serving
For the asparagus butter sauce:
1. Take shaved asparagus and add to pan with 1-2 ounces of water, cover and steam.
2. Add the butter and whisk, adding salt and pepper to taste.
3. Once butter is melted, remove pan from heat and strain the butter, squeezing any remaining liquid out of the asparagus.
4. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
5. Reserve for pasta.
For the pasta and assembly:
6. Pre-heat oven to 400°F and bring pot of water to boil. Cut a length of parchment paper (about 2 feet long) into 4 individual squares.
7. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente. Strain and toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and cool.
8. In a large bowl, toss one cup of olive oil, all the vegetables, garlic, basil, lemon zest and juice, Parmesan, tomato sauce and butter together. Add additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
9. Divide evenly onto 4 parchment paper sheets.
10. Fold the top of the parchment paper over and then twist the sides to close. Place packets on baking sheet and transfer to oven.
11. Bake for 25 minutes.
12. Serve with asparagus butter sauce, ricotta, Parmesan, lemon wedges and drizzled olive oil.
Courtesy of Chef David Burke, Tavern 62 by David Burke.