Change Up Pasta Night With The Simple Addition Of Asparagus

Asparagus and cheese on rigatoni
Asparagus and cheese on rigatoni - Clarkandcompany/Getty Images

Is pasta night at your house starting to feel a little repetitive? Do you keep going through the same few recipes over and over again? How many times can you make Alfredo, marinara, or carbonara without things starting to feel a little, well, boring? Not that any of the previously mentioned recipes aren't flavorful favorites in their own right, but there is something to be said for changing things up a bit by bringing in new ingredients. And one of the simplest additions you can make to your pasta night is asparagus.

Asparagus is one of those veggies that doesn't often make it to the top 10 of the "Ingredients to Add to Pasta" list. It's a shame, really, because asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetables available. Coming in multiple colors ranging from green to purple to pink to white, asparagus is noted for its long, tender stalks, and tufty, leafy heads. They have a mild, earthy flavor and can be served either raw or cooked.

Adding asparagus to pasta will bring a touch of freshness and crunch to your pasta dishes. It has a variety of different applications and can be paired with multiple different sauces and ingredients. So, if you're feeling ready to change up your pasta night, we invite you to add asparagus into the rotation.

Read more: 44 Types Of Pasta And When You Should Be Using Them

How To Incorporate Asparagus Into Pasta

Cut up asparagus
Cut up asparagus - Alvarez/Getty Images

Asparagus will work well with any variety of pasta shapes, depending on how it is cut. If you're looking to use it for long, twirling pasta like fettuccine, linguine, or classic spaghetti, consider cutting the asparagus at a diagonal angle in pieces about one and a half inches long. This will encourage it to catch in the twirling pasta, getting you a good portion of asparagus with each mouthful. With smaller shapes like farfalle, fusilli, rigatoni, or penne, you can just dice up the asparagus any which way so long as it is easy to pierce with a fork.

As far as additional flavors go, asparagus works with any number of traditional pasta pairings. Lemon, however, is one of asparagus' best friends. It brings some acidity to the more earthy tones set by the asparagus, making them a wonderfully balanced pairing. Asparagus in a cream sauce, with smoked salmon, pancetta and leeks, and even just sliced raw and tossed with olive oil and parmesan cheese, will work wonders over any bed of pasta.

You don't need to worry too much about blanching or cooking the asparagus too heavily. Raw asparagus maintains a lot of its grassy flavor, while also providing a distinct crunch. However, you can play by the rule of cooked for winter and raw for summer. Either way, it's an ingredient that will surely get you out of your repetitive pasta night cycle.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.