Dessert Delight

Dessert Delight

Penne with Asparagus, Mint and Pictachios

Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb penne rigate
1/2 lb thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
ice water
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, toasted
2-3 tbsp EVOO
4 tbsp. butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar
A handful grated pecoriono-romano, plus more or less to pass around the table.

Get Started:

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it after it boils add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

Step 1:

While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, bring 2 inches of water to a boil salt it, add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes.  Transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking; drain and set aside.  Reserve the skillet.

Step 2:

Using a food processor, puree 1/2 cup stock, the mint, parsley, pistachios and EVOO.

Step 3:

In the reserved skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, season with salt and pepper.  Whisk in the flour. Stir in the wine and cook until reduced to 2 tbsp.  Add the remaining 1 cup stock and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Lower the heat to low.  Stir in the lemon juice (or vinegar).  Remove from heat and stir in the pistachio puree.

Step 4:

Add the pasta, asparagus and a handful of cheese to the skillet; toss stirring in the reserved cooking water to thin the consistency if desired.  Season with salt and pepper. Pass more cheese at the table. 

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