Asparagus, Lemon, and Walnut Pasta

Holy heck!! This is so fresh-tasting, it’s like brushing your teeth!  Easy to make — hardly anything to buy — and so good it’ll make you wanna punch someone in the face!

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  • ounces dried spaghetti (or pasta of your choice–I liked cavatappi because it’s pretty)
  • pound asparagus spears
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • garlic clove, peeled and whole
  • tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • pork of some kind . . . minced and sautéed pancetta, crisped prosciutto — optional
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a strong boil. Season with salt, then add pasta. Cook to  “al dente.” Set aside about 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.
  2. While waiting on the damn pasta, cut off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut the remainder into 1/3-inch rounds, leaving the tips intact. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large pan over medium heat for five minutes (you’re flavoring the oil, get it?). Add asparagus, salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water. Cover pan and cook asparagus for 4 to 6 minutes, until tender to the bite. Turn off heat and discard garlic.
  3. Once pasta is finished, purée 1/3 of the cooked asparagus and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender until smooth.  Save some asparagus tips for plating.
  4. Add puréed asparagus back to pan, along with sliced asparagus. Mix in cooked pasta, lemon zest, and more pasta water as needed to keep the sauce loose. Heat on low for a minute or two to allow pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Serve immediately, topped with chopped walnuts and a little Parm!
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