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spring fresh! lemony asparagus and shrimp pasta by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2
continued from page 1

1 Set a big pot of water on the stove, crank the heat to high and bring to a boil.

2 While you're waiting for the water to bubble, prep the ingredients. Peel the shrimp, and de-vein if you like. Break off the bottom inch or so of the asparagus (the tough bit -- if you hold the stalk near the bottom third and bend, it should naturally snap off at the right point). Chop the remainder into 2" sections, on the diagonal if you're feeling fancy. Peel and mince the garlic. Zest the lemon (get the very outer yellow layer of peel; the easiest way to do this is with a zester or microplaner, although you can also use a regular grater if that's all you have).

3 When the water is boiling, toss in the asparagus. Cook for 2-3 minutes, depending upon how thick your asparagus is. The asparagus should be very crisp-tender, barely cooked through and a pretty bright green color. Remove the cooked asparagus with a slotted spoon; rinse in cold water to stop the cooking, and set aside. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the same boiling pot of water that you used to cook the asparagus, and cook until al dente. (The pasta package should give you a rough indicator of when to start checking.)

4 When the pasta water returns to a boil, proceed as follows. Heat the oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium-low for a minute, then toss in the garlic. Sauté for a couple minutes, until the garlic is soft and aromatic. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is pink and opaque all on the outside and almost, but not quite, cooked through (there should be a hint of translucency in the very center). Stir in the asparagus and sauté for another minute or so. Add the veggie stock, and bring to a bubble. Stir in half the lemon zest. Season with a little salt and pepper, plus a dash of crushed red pepper if you're using it; turn off the heat and set the pan aside.

5 Toss the asparagus and shrimp mixture with the cooked, drained pasta. Stir in more lemon zest if the dish needs more zing, a drizzle more olive oil if things seem too dry; season with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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