A beautifully simple garlicky cream sauce, roasted asparagus and whole wheat penne come together for an excellent vegetarian meal.
For the pasta
- 1 lb dry penne pasta
- 1 1⁄2 lbs fresh asparagus
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
For the Sauce
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1⁄4 cup white wine
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 cup skim milk
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 4 ounces aged gouda cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper
- 2 ounces walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
- Prepare pasta according to box directions.
- While pasta is cooking, wash asparagus, break off the woody stems and arrange on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Broil for 5-10 minutes until the asparagus is tender (to your personal taste). Once cooked, chop asparagus roughly and toss it with drained pasta in a large serving bowl.
- Melt butter in a sauce pan and add garlic, sauteing until it is turning golden and fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Whisk in wheat flour to form a roux, being careful to avoid any lumps. When it is perfectly smooth, add white wine, whisking to incorporate.
- Return saute pan to the heat, allow alcohol to evaporate (should take about 30 seconds) and immediately whisk in heavy cream.
- Continuing to whisk, add shredded Gouda and stir gently until it melts. Once melted, add remaining ingredients and bring to temp., or just until the sauce begins to bubble.
- Pour sauce over pasta and asparagus. Toss and garnish with toasted walnuts, if desired.
Yum! the garlic comes though nicely and the wine in the sauce elevates it from just a plain cheese sauce, all parts of this recipe went very well with the asparagus. I couldn't get regular sized green asparagus when I went shopping and the usual dutch white asparagus on offer looked rather tired, so I opted for fresh green baby asparagus tips and they worked just fine. I did buy penne pasta especially for this recipe but DH who works from home polished it off for his lunches during the week so I came home from work and was forced to substitute the tagliatelle that we had in the cupboard instead... it doesn't effect the result I think, which is a nice blend of flavours. DH commented that whilst he thought it was good, that it needed a "little something extra" and suggested maybe a handful of fresh basil? We also never mind eating a vegetarian meal, but this time DH said that he missed eating meat when he ate this. (something he doesn't often say)Next time I will make a meat dish on the side. Please see my rating system: 4 wonderful stars for an easy and tasty recipe that I would be happy to make again. Made for Pick-a-Chef Autumn 2008. Thanks !