Thursday, August 7, 2008

Baked Fettucine & Asparagus w/ Lemon, Pine Nuts & Mascarpone

Why couldn't I just say Baked Fettucine? Well, because the lemon makes this dish feel light, the pine nuts are a beautiful addition, & the mascarpone makes it feel decadent. I made this dish a few weeks ago when "the family" (reminder to self: you're NOT a member of the Sopranos, SNAP OUT OF IT) was over to try out my 1st effort at a homemade red sauce. Since I am more of a white sauce, bechemel, olive oil, garlic butter type of girl, I had to make another dish. If you look in the pictures you will see there isn't too much of a cream sauce. THAT'S what I loved. It was wet but not too creamy, therefore not rich or too heavy. I didn't fall into a food coma after eating it & that's a good thing!

Olive oil
2 lb medium thick asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 bunch of scallions, cut in thin rounds
Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon of dried or ¾ tsp of ground thyme = 3 sprigs fresh
Sea salt & black pepper
1 tblspn unsalted butter
1 tblspn flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup grated Parmigiano
Generous pinch of ground allspice
Small pinch of cayenne
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 lb fresh fettucine
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

~Heat oven to 450. Lightly coat a 9x13 baking dish/casserole with olive oil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus & blanch until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in colander, run under cold water to keep green color. Set aside. If you want to you can scoop the asparagus from the water, leaving it boiling so it's ready for the pasta. Or you can prep the asparagus earlier in the day like I did.

~In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute scallions for 1 minute. Add asparagus & saute for 1 minute. Take skillet off heat & add half lemon zest, the lemon juice, thyme, salt & pepper; mix well.

~In a saucepan, heat butter & flour over medium heat, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Add milk, still whisking, until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat a bit & cook until smooth & lightly thickened, 3-4 minutes.

~Turn off heat & add the mascarpone, the remaining lemon zest, & 1/2 cup of Parmigiano, whisking until mixture is smooth. Season with allspice, cayenne, salt & pepper.

~In small bowl, combine breadcrumbs & remaining Parmigiano. Season with salt & pepper & add a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well.

~Cook the fettucine leaving it slightly undone. Drain & return to cooking pot. Add the mascarpone sauce, the pine nuts, & the asparagus with all its juices. Toss & taste for seasoning. Pour into the baking dish & sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over top.

~Bake uncovered 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy with a glass of white wine!

My Thoughts: this wasn't hard to prepare but also not your regular throw together pasta meal. It's perfect for a weekend dinner and well worth the effort. It was sinful without all the sin because it was not laden down with too much alfredo or the usual creamy sauces.


Jen said...

Um, yummy, yummy, yummy. You have so many awesome recipes that I can't find the time to make them all. I love it.

Elizabeth said...

Dang!! This looks good!! But can I enjoy with red wine? :)

Seriously- this looks great!

Life, Love And Lola said...

YUM! I'm a white sauce kind of girl too! Oh, and garlic. I heart garlic!!

Life On The Tail Of A Comet said...

I'm so thankful it's easier to get mascarpone than it used to be. This looks beautiful. I'm going to try this using the shiritake fettucine noodles.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Yum! I love making easy but delicious recipes. I have been focusing on easy, cost effective, but super yummy recipes in my show lately. I hope you will try some of them out- I'd love to know what you think! Have a great day!

sassy stephanie said...

Oh my that sounds good. I love asparagus. What kind of cheese is mascarpone? I don't think I have ever had it. Mild enough that the kids will eat it?

sassy stephanie said...

My "housekeeper" must have forgotten the email like. I will get my people on that right away.

Running....anything over 6-8ish miles, I do a Galloway method (Google it). I find that I can go the distance better with intervals. I am actually faster overall using intervals. I have tried all sorts of different combos, but currently love run 4 min/walk 30 seconds. I start the race this way and do it the whole way through.

Jennifer said...

man, oh, surely have a gift of cooking!!!

Anonymous said...

If I ever get married again (because like that is going to happen!) then I am having a martini themed wedding and you are going to be the caterer!

Life, Love And Lola said...

Yes I've been to Islamorada. There is a really cool tiki bar there. I think it's actually call "The Tiki Bar" it's right on the water. Are you going to catch lobster? A bunch of my guy friends are in the Keys right now for lobster season.

Kimmers said...

Ohhhhh that looks so, so good and I LOVE both pasta in general, and asparagus. I can't wait to try this out. I'll have to wait for a quiet weekend.

Amii said...

Um, delicious! I can hardly wait to try this out...Lemon, pine nuts and cheese are my favorite things and wouldn't you know it? I posted a recipe yesterday using 2 of the 3 for a salmon recipe.

This is going to be on the menu this weekend, though, that's for sure!

angie said...

I like the descriptive title WAY better! :)

Angela said...

Oh my, this looks good!! Like you, I'm more of a creamy white sauce girl than a marinara lover. This looks nice and summery. And I STILL love your plates/dishes, by the way!!

Oh, and I tagged you for a meme that another friend sent me. And I'll be responding to your tag next!

Pumpkin Delight said...

Oh my god! I just had a food orgasm. That sounds amazing...pasta, cheese, and lemon, what could be better.

BTW, you've been tagged.

Ritch in Love said...

holy canolli! that looks so delicious this late at night!

Tam said...

MMMMMMMMM is all I got! love it!

Courtney said...

OMG, pasta and asparagus!!! YUM!
Girl, you are a prolific blogger, I can't keep up! :)

FROGGITY! said...

i am definitely an asparagus and citrus fan! :)