Asparagus is right in the thick of its growing season and are we ever glad! Unlike the off-season stuff you find at the grocery store, fresh, local asparagus tends to have smaller, more tender spears, making it the perfect addition to this creamy pasta dish.
We recommend you pull out the biggest skillet you can find and save this recipe for a cooler day – no one wants heavy cream when it’s 90 degrees outside.
You will need:
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 Tb. olive oil
- 10 ounces sliced white button mushrooms
- salt and pepper
- one shallot, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme, 1/4 tsp. dried thyme OR 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 c. dry white wine
- 3 1/2 c. water
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 8 ounces penne
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and peeled if necessary, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
First things first – tend to the porcinis. Empty the mushrooms into a small bowl and cover with really, really (boiling) hot water. Let stand for 5 minutes or until reconstituted and then remove mushrooms with a fork, leaving any grit behind in the bowl. Mince the mushrooms.
In the biggest skillet you can find, warm up the olive oil over medium-high heat and add in the white mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are brown, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: Do NOT put the salt on the mushrooms while they’re still cooking. It makes the texture all weird.
Next, stir in the shallot, porcinis and seasoning (thyme or Italian) for one minute. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in wine (chicken broth would work too) and simmer until almost dry, about one minute.
Stir in the water, cream and penne. Crank the heat up to high and cook, stirring near constantly until penne is tender and liquid has reduced and thickened (about 12 minutes). Add asparagus and cook two minutes more.
Take the skillet off the heat and stir in Parmesan.
Enjoy this one-dish wonder with a simple side salad and some nice, crusty bread. Mmmmm – tastes like spring!