Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus & Avocado Quesadilla

Farmers market asparagus is the highlight in this interesting and tasty quesadilla that was inspired by a taco recipe in Runners World magazine.  That said, I am not sure what my favorite part is, the homemade white refried beans (made with oregano from my garden),

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the grilled asparagus,

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or the grilled avocado.

20140615-205258-75178344.jpg The flavors all blended so well, especially with some cheese (I used a salsa monterrey jack) and pico de gallo.  My local store makes a very good pico de gallo, so since my tomatoes are not ripe yet, I opted to use theirs.

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The next day I brought the leftover refried beans, pico de gallo and avocado as my work lunch to each with some tortilla chips…yum!

Grilled Asparagus & Avocado Quesadilla

For the refried beans:

1 cup dried white northern or cannellini beans

2 quarts water

1 serrano chili, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 onion, minced

1/2 tsp dried oregano (from the garden)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

For the quesadilla:

8 small whole wheat flour tortillas

refried beans (see recipe)

1 lb asparagus, grilled and cut in half (from Beechwood Orchards)

2 avocados, cut in half and grilled (oil the avocado so it does not stick to the grill or grill pan), then sliced

4 ounces grated cheese (monterey, pepper, or salsa jack)

pico de gallo

Directions

Make the refried beans:

Bring the water to boil in a large pot.  Pick over the beans to remove any discolored or shriveled ones.  Add to the water with the serrano pepper, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.

20140615-205255-75175942.jpgCook for about 1 hour 45 minutes, until the beans are tender. Reserve some cooking liquid, drain and roughly mash with a potato masher.

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In a saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion and oregano for about 10 minutes. Add the mashed beans, 1/2 Tbsp oil, and saute for about 10 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper.  I like the beans with some texture.  If you desire a smoother mixture, you can transfer it to a food processor and process until smooth.

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For the quesadilla:

Spray a 10-inch non-stick pan with olive oil.  Heat over medium-high heat.

Build the quesadilla by placing one tortilla on a plate.  Spread with a couple of tablespoons of refried beans.  Top with asparagus and avocado slices, sprinkle with about 1 ounce shredded cheese.

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Top with a second tortilla, transfer to the heated pan. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until the bottom tortilla is browned.  Flip and cook another 2 – 3 minutes until the other side is browned and the cheese is melted.

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To serve, transfer to a plate and cut into sixths, top with pico de gallo.

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Repeat the process to make 4 quesadillas. Enjoy!20140615-205300-75180389.jpg

Categories: Asparagus, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Sesame Asparagus Stir Fry

We are now in the height of asparagus season.  I went to Fifers farm market and picked up some thin asparagus for stir fry and thick asparagus for roasting.  The asparagus was beautiful.

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I also picked up some snap peas, mushrooms and carrots.  These are what I used for my stir fry, you can add other vegetables, such as tomatoes, peas, or whatever you like in your stir fry.  I found some organic cremini mushrooms – so they just had to go into the stir fry.

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This is a nice sauce, you can adjust the heat with how my sriracha you use, it doesn’t take much.

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Sesame Asparagus Stir Fry 

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 to 1 1/2 lbs asparagus (from Fifer Orchards)

4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (locally grown)

3 carrots, sliced on the diagonal

4 ounces sugar snap peas, cut into thirds

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

A touch of sriracha, to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 Tbsp sesame seeds, plus more for garnish

1 Tbsp cornstarch

Hot cooked rice

Directions

Snap off the thick bottoms of the asparagus, cut into approximately 1 1/2 inch pieces. 

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Prepare the sauce:  Stir together the wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, garlic, onion  powder, ginger and sesame seeds.  Adjust to taste.  Stir in the cornstarch.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat.  Add the oil and vegetables.  Stir fry for 5 to 8 minutes, then cover the pan and steam the vegetables for 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove the cover and continue to stir fry until the vegetable are crisp-tender. Add the sauce and stir fry for another minute until the sauce thickens and coats all the vegetables.

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Serve with rice. Garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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Serves 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Asparagus, Carrot, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Pasta with Asparagus and Eggs

My husband and I really enjoy fresh asparagus, so asparagus season (aka early Spring) is very much enjoyed in our house.  But I fear that I will be traveling for a good part of this asparagus season, so I am rushing to fit in as many asparagus dishes as I can before I leave.

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We were in Philadelphia for the Hot Chocolate 15K last weekend, and stopped at the farm store on the way home for some fresh asparagus.  Pasta with Asparagus and Eggs was a great post race dinner for me – replenished both my carbs with a good splash of protein.

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I made some very slight adaptations from Penne with Asparagus and Eggs in Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman, just simply to meet our taste preferences.  We also used eggs from Farmer Kim and garlic from our garden.

cookbook-shulman

Pasta with Asparagus and Eggs

Very slightly adapted from Penne with Asparagus and Eggs in Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman

Kosher Salt

1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths (locally grown)

2 Tbps olive oil

2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed (from the garden)

1 14-oz can tomatoes, crushed

Freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs (from Farmer Kim)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

3/4  lb shaped pasta, such as penne or wheels

Crushed red pepper

Directions

Bringa large pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of salt.  Add the asparagus and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, until tender.  Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water.  Cool, then drain and set aside.

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Cover the pot and bring the water back to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic together in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until the garlic begins to color.  Remove the garlic and add the tomatoes.  Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked down slightly and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

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While the tomatoes cook, cook the pasta according to package directions.

Also, beat the eggs in a large pasta bowl and add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, stir in half the cheese.

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When the tomatoes are finished cooking, stir in the asparagus, season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

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When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and toss immediately with the eggs.

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Add the hot tomato sauce and toss again.

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Serve at once, passing the remaining cheese and crushed red pepper.  Enjoy!

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Serves 4

 

 

Categories: Asparagus, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Asparagus – Leek Frittata

Spring is finally here, and that means Delaware asparagus!!

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This asparagus comes from my favorite all natural farmer in North Wilmington.  Their family farm is now 10 acres surrounded by suburbia in North Wilmington.  I mean it, they are surrounded on 3 sides by a neighborhood and across the street from the high school.  I have to say, when you are there, it seems much bigger, and they produce so much!  So, the only benefit of days that I need to drive to Philly is that I get to stop at Highland Orchards on my way home.

During this visit they also had some beautiful leeks, so I have adapted Mary Ann Esposito’s (of Ciao Italia) recipe for Asparagus Frittata to utilize leeks instead of red onions.  I also am using a local wine I picked up when I was in Virginia Beach last week, Chateau Morisette’s Sweet Mountain Laurel.  It is a sweet, flavorful wine, which imparted a nice flavor to the vegetables.  I was a little nervous about the combination of sweet leeks and sweet wine, but they worked quite well together.

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Asparagus – Leek Frittata

Slightly adapted from Mary Ann Esposito

1 lb asparagus, top half cut in 1/2” pieces (from Highland Orchards)

2 Tbsp, 1 tsp olive oil, divided

1 leek, diced (from Highland Orchards)

1/2 cup white wine

5 large eggs (locally raised)

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and put in 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, leek, and asparagus; mix well and allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

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Add the wine and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and put the vegetables into a bowl to cool slightly.

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Wipe the frying plan with a paper towel and add about 1 tsp of olive oil. Heat the pan over medium heat.  When the pan is heating, crack the eggs into a bowl, add the salt and cheese and mix well.

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Stir in the asparagus mixture.

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Pour the mixture into the frying pan and shake gently  to evenly distribute the asparagus over the bottom of the frittata.  Cover the pan and let the frittata cook for 5 minutes. Check to see if the liquid is set and the frittata moves in the pan easily.

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Flip the frittata onto a plate that is bigger than the frying pan.  Return the frittata to the pan.  Cover and cook another 5 minutes.

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Slide the frittata onto a serving platter, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

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Enjoy.

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Serves 4 – 6

Categories: Asparagus, Breakfast, Kosher, Leeks, Recipe | Leave a comment

Mediterranean Asparagus and Artichoke Pasta

I have a bad habit of pouring through my friends’ cookbooks during the down-times of our visits.  I just can’t help myself, I see new cookbooks and I have to read them.  I used to grab sheets of paper and copy down interesting recipes; now I just pull out the iPhone and click.

Sometimes I hit on some winners; tonight’s dinner was one I found in The Best 125 Meatless Pasta Dishes by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.  I saw it and was immediately hooked – it would use Farmer Kim’s asparagus and my sun-dried tomatoes. I would even use the olive oil from my tomatoes as the cooking oil to amp up the sun-dried tomato flavor.

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Mediterranean Asparagus and Artichoke Pasta

Slightly adapted from The Best 125 Meatless Pasta Dishes

1 pound penne pasta

1 1/2 pounds asparagus (from Farmer Kim)

12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts

4 Tbsp olive oil, divided (I used the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried oregano (from the garden)

2 tsp dried mint

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, slivered

3/4 cup white wine (I used Riesling)

1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta,cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile, drain the artichoke hearts. Break off the woody end of the asparagus and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces.

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Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion and garlic with the oregano and mint for 5 minutes, until the onion is golden and limp.

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Add the asparagus, salt and pepper and saute 5 minutes.

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Add the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes, stir and cook 5 minutes longer.

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Stir the wine into the vegetables and turn off the heat.

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Drain the pasta and place in a large, warmed serving bowl with the remaining 2 Tbsp oil and the cheese.

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Mix in the vegetable sauce and top with parsley.

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Serve with some additional grated cheese.

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Serves 6.

Categories: Asparagus, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto

Cam and I were home alone for a few days.  Cooking for just the two of us is always a challenge, especially since he is now in a grilled-cheese-for-every-meal phase.  At least he wants to make them with me (he is finally wanting to cook again!)

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One of the few other foods I can still get him to eat is pesto. He removed the asparagus (he is 4, after all) but devoured the pasta and peas, declaring it delicious!  So, I had a tasty dinner and he ate something other than grilled cheese.

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My cooking pictures are using quantities for two people, I have included the recipe for 4 servings.  For the leftovers, I added in some sun-dried tomatoes, another fun way to eat this.

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto

12 – 16 ounces pasta

1 lb asparagus (from Farmer Kim)

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup pesto (I used garlic scape pesto with pistachios, any pesto would work well)

Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, for serving

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.  With 4 minutes left to cooking, add the peas.  Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water.

While the pasta cooks, cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces, steam for 3 minutes.

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Place the pesto in a large bowl.  Add the asparagus.

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Drain the pasta and peas and add to the bowl.  Mix well to coat all with the pesto.  Add some of the reserved pasta water if more liquid is needed.

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Serve with grated cheese.

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Serves 4.

Categories: Asparagus, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Pesto, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 8 Comments

Asparagus Quiche in a Spinach Crust

Farmer Kim brought some asparagus with the eggs yesterday, enough for me to make 2 asparagus dishes this week – yay!  So I grabbed a few today to chop up, steam and put in a quiche.

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Spinach crust?  Yes, the crust is simply spinach, flour and wheat germ and it is a great crust for quiches such as broccoli and, in this case, asparagus. The crust and my general approach to quiches is based on Mollie Katzen’s quiche formula in the Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook.

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We enjoyed our quiche with a salad made with the romaine from the garden.  Things are finally starting to grow, late, but the greens all look very healthy.

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Optional tasty additions could be 2 leeks, chopped fine and sauteed, or a non-vegetarian addition would be to cook a couple of slices of turkey bacon and add them in the layer with the asparagus.

Asparagus Quiche in a Spinach Crust

Crust:

1 – 2 Tbsp Oil – Olive or Canola

10 oz spinach, finely chopped

3/4 tsp Kosher salt

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup wheat germ

Quiche:

4 – 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

8 – 10 stalks asparagus (from Farmer Kim)

3 eggs (from Farmer Kim)

1 cup milk

Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Oil a pie dish.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the spinach and salt and saute until the spinach is limp, just a minute or so.  Remove from heat.

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Add the flour and wheat germ and mix well. Press the mixture into the pie plate to form the crust.  Bake for 15 minutes.  You do not need to let the crust cool to assemble the quiche.

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Sprinkle the cheese over the bottom of the pie plate.  Layer the asparagus over the cheese.

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Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl.  Add pepper and salt to taste.  Pour over the quiche.

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Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Let cool for at least 10 minutes.

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The quiche can be served at any temperature.  Enjoy!

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Serves 6.

Categories: Asparagus, Breakfast, Recipe, Spinach | Tags: | 2 Comments

Asparagus, Mushroom and Tomato Stir Fry

When Arielle and I arrived at my friend Kelly’s house, we had in hand some asparagus Arielle had cut at Farmer Kim’s farm earlier in the day.  It was going to be the star of dinner after our Saturday hike.

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I won’t go into detail about the hike other than that we did a lot of climbing and hiking on rocks since we lost the trail about a third of the way up the mountain.  It was slow going and a pain in the neck  – or as it turned out – calf.  We ended the day at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, where Arielle entertained us with her crane technique 🙂

hawk mountain

Hawk Mountain is beautiful and has some great hikes (which we did not do this trip, but have in the past and will again soon!).

When we returned to Kelly’s, I pretty much took over her kitchen to make dinner, I am glad she didn’t seem to mind too much (she did make the rice, so she wasn’t totally kicked out).  It was odd cooking in someone else’s house, but it also gave me great pleasure.  I am surprised that making food for people has become one of my favorite things to do.

Asparagus, Mushroom and Tomato Stir Fry

Asparagus, Mushroom and Tomato Stir Fry

1 pound Asparagus  (from Farmer Kim)

1 bunch scallions, organic

6 ounces mushrooms (locally grown)

1 cup grape tomatoes

1/2 cup white wine

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp minced ginger

3 to 4 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp canola oil

Directions

Break off the woody end of the asparagus, cut the rest into 1 inch pieces.  Cut the scallions also into 1 inch pieces.  Slice the mushrooms and halve the grape tomatoes.

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Mix together the wine, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.

Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. Add the oil, then the asparagus and scallions.  Stir fry for about 3 minutes.

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Add the mushrooms and stir fry about 1 minute.

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Stir the cornstarch into the wine-soy sauce mixture.  Then add to the asparagus, cook about 30 seconds – 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and stir fry until the tomatoes are heated through.

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Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Asparagus, Mushroom and Tomato Stir Fry

Serves 3

Categories: Asparagus, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | 4 Comments

Fetuccine with Saffron and Asparagus

At last! Local asparagus is in!  I stopped at the farm today and bought a pound to use for dinner.  Picked today, cooked today…doesn’t get much better than that.  I love asparagus and pasta, so I made more than we needed for our dinner so that we can take some for our lunches tomorrow (or turn it into pasta pancakes for dinner later this week).

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To remove the sand from the asparagus, I placed the asparagus pieces in a bowl of cold water and agitated, and agitated, and agitated it.  Then I agitated it some more. Then the asparagus was ready to use.

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This recipe is from Mary Ann Esposito’s Ciao Italia series. The only difference, is that I used Grana Padano cheese instead of pecorino.

Fetuccine with Saffron and Asparagus

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 pound fresh asparagus, cut in thirds (grown within 10 miles of my house)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Pinch saffron threads (I ground them)

1pound fetuccine

Grated pecorino (I used Grana Padano)

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion; cook until it begins to soften. Add the asparagus pieces, sat and pepper and cook until the asparagus is tender.

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Set 3/4 cup of the asparagus mixture aside (I selected the asparagus tips).  Puree the rest.  Transfer to a small pot and keep covered over low heat.

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Cook the pasta until al dente; drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.  Dissolve the saffron in the reserved water, then mix it into the pureed asparagus.

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Mix the pasta with the asparagus sauce; transfer to a platter and top with the reserved asparagus pieces and sprinkle with grated cheese.  Enjoy!

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Serves 4 to 6

Categories: Asparagus, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | 5 Comments

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