When David Guas, executive pastry chef of Washington's Acadiana, Ceiba, DC Coast and Tenpenh restaurants, wanted to use up some fridge ingredients just before a family vacation, he concocted this quick and flavorful weeknight family meal -- with the help of a few pantry items. For his household's younger palates, he leaves out the pine nuts and capers. Serve with a radicchio and butter lettuce salad.
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 quarts water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 8 ounces dried farfalle, or other dried pasta shape
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup asparagus tips
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
- 1 lemon (finely grated zest only)
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Place the pine nuts in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Toast for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the pine nuts have browned evenly. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Combine 2 quarts of water and the salt in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or just until al dente (according to package directions). Stir often to prevent sticking.
In the same medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the asparagus tips, garlic, mustard, cracked black pepper, capers, anchovy paste and lemon zest, mixing to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the flavors are well married and the ingredients form a loose sauce. (The asparagus should retain a little interior crunch.) Add the toasted pine nuts and tomato halves, mixing to combine.
Drain the pasta in a colander, then add to the skillet, tossing to coat the pasta evenly with the sauce. Divide the sauced pasta among individual bowls and top with the Parmesan. Serve hot.
Adapted from David Guas, executive pastry chef of Washington's Acadiana, Ceiba, DC Coast and Tenpenh restaurants.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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