Gemelli with Asparagus Tips, Lemon, and Butter
Butter thickens this sauce and helps it adhere to these short, twisted pairs of macaroni, which have become one of the most popular shapes introduced in the last five years.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 4
- 2 bunches medium asparagus, cut on bias into 1½-inch pieces
- ½ pound gemelli pasta
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- ½ cup vegetable stock or water
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan
Par-cook the asparagus pieces in 3 batches, in 6 quarts rapidly boiling salted water, plunging them immediately into salted ice water as they are removed from cooking water (shock), then drain. Boil gemelli in the asparagus cooking water “al dente” (soft, but still slightly chewy in the center). Drain and rinse.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet large enough to hold all ingredients (12-inch diameter), and add the lemon zest and asparagus pieces. Sauté on medium heat until asparagus are hot, then add the stock, toss in the pasta, and raise heat to high.
When pasta is steaming hot, swirl in the remaining butter, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls, sprinkled with Parmesan.
This stuff is indispensable if you make Italian pasta dishes frequently. Combine one cup extra-virgin olive oil with ¼ cup finely chopped garlic. Stir. Keeps refrigerated for up to two weeks. When you sauté in it, just take from the top, which is pure flavored oil; stir it up to get little bits of garlic if you're adding it to already-cooking dishes.