While flipping through our Foodland Ontario calendar this year, I came across this fresh spring pasta recipe that looked like the perfect dinner to serve up for some friends coming over. It has a fresh springtime taste from the lemon and zesty asiago cheese, while incorporating some fresh asparagus and thyme leaves. I used diced ham leftover from dinner the night before, making this an easy second night meal.
I also loved the idea of throwing the asparagus in with the pasta to cook near the end. I should do this more often with veggies!
What you’ll need:
- 3 cups uncooked penne pasta
- 1 bunch asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup diced ham
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add asparagus and continue to cook until pasta and asparagus are tender, 4-6 minutes. Drain and place in large warm bowl.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour, then gradually whisk in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and then add ham, lemon zest, mustard, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 cup of the asiago cheese until just melted. Remove from heat and pour sauce over pasta and asparagus. Toss well. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.