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This is a simple and great pasta dish. You can cut the butter down to about 1 tablespoon to cut the fat if desired, and not suffer any loss of flavor. From Gourmet magazine, June 1999.
- Trim asparagus and diagonally cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Finely chop shallots.
- Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and squeeze enough juice to measure 3 tablespoons.
- Cut salmon into 2 x 1/2-inch strips.
- Fill a 6-quart pasta pot three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for asparagus and pasta.
- Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water.
- Cook asparagus in boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes, and with a slotted spoon transfer to ice water to stop cooking.
- Reserve water in pot over low heat, covered.
- Drain asparagus and set aside some asparagus tips for garnish.
- In a deep 12-inch heavy skillet cook shallots in butter with salt and pepper to taste over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in cream and zest and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice and remove skillet from heat.
- Return water in pot to a boil.
- Cook pasta in boiling water, stirring occasionally, until al dente and ladle out and reserve 1 cup pasta water.
- Drain pasta in a colander and add to sauce with asparagus, 1/2 cup pasta water, three fourths salmon, remaining tablespoon lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat mixture over low heat, gently tossing (and adding more remaining pasta water as needed if mixture becomes dry), until just heated through.
- Serve pasta garnished with reserved asparagus tips and remaining salmon.