Thursday, January 10, 2013

Asparagus Pasta with Saffron Sauce

I initially found this recipe in Classic Vegetarian Cooking, on page 198.  I've modified it from time to time and it works well for two or for eight.  Serve it with some warm bread and a salad and it is divine.  For a lighter option, replace the heavy cream with half and half, or make only half the recipe for the sauce; the somen will soak it up and still be delicious!

Serves 4

1. Soak 1 pinch of real saffron in 2tbsp boiling water.

2. Wash 1 pound of asparagus and trim the tops off, slicing the stalks into small rounds and saving the tops (about 2 inches). 

3.  Melt 2tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add 2 diced shallots (or 2 small sweet onions) and saute until soft.  Add 2tbsp white wine, 1 cup heavy cream, and the saffron infusion.  Bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer gently until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon (around 5 min).  Add the juice of half a lemon and the zest of half a lemon, with 1tsp salt and 1tsp pepper.  (You may add more salt/pepper to taste when it is done).  Remove from heat.

4.  Bring a large pot of water to a bnoil and blanch the asparagus tips before removing them and adding them to the sauce.  Add the asparagus rounds and 1 cup peas to the boiling water and cook for 7 minutes or until tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce.

5.  Cook 12oz somen noodles in the water for 3 minutes or until tender.  Drain.  Pour the sauce over the drained noodles.  Stir well to coat and sprinkle with grated parmesean cheese (optional) before serving.

***For a vegan alternative, use a nondairy butter like Earth Balance and Mimic Creme (a cashew and almond cream alternative) and remove the parm cheese at the end.


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