Even though this is a pasta dish, it is light, fresh and perfect for spring.
Technique tip: Snap the woody ends off the asparagus instead of cutting them. Each stalk will snap off exactly where it needs to. This way you don't end up cutting off too much and losing any of the edible part.
Swap option: You can use goat cheese instead of Parmesan cheese, chicken for shrimp or no protein at all for a lovely vegetarian meal.
- 3/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 8 cups dried pasta, preferably orecchiette
- 2 bunches fresh asparagus
- 2 tablespoons concentrated shrimp and crab boil
- 2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cup frozen peas, thawed (English peas work best)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1 cup Parmesan, shaved, plus more for serving
- Vinaigrette (recipe above)
- Salt and pepper
For the vinaigrette:
In a medium sized bowl, combine cider vinegar, honey, garlic, Dijon, salt and pepper. Mix with a whisk. After it is fully combined slowly drizzle the oil in a slow steady stream. Whisk until completely combined.
For the pasta:
1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in stockpot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt (the water should be as salty as seawater).
2. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Scoop out the pasta (leaving the pasta water in the pot), drain and let cool.
3. Blanch asparagus in remaining pasta water until it is bright green in color and tender. Remove asparagus and cut into bite size pieces.
4. In another stockpot, bring two cups of water to a boil, add liquid crab boil. Once water is at a rolling boil add shrimp and cook until pink and no linger translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Drain shrimp then cover with ice to stop the cooking process.
5. Combine pasta, asparagus, peas, chopped herbs, Parmesan and shrimp and pour dressing over pasta and toss to coat the pasta well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with extra Parmesan.