Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Red and Green Pasta

The name is meant to sound intriguing. I used all of my commute time to come up with it. Plus it is way more fun than calling it "Penne with Red Pepper sauce and Asparagus".
It seems an apt dish to celebrate the first day of spring. Pasta coated in a rich (and garlicky) cashew red pepper sauce studded with nutty bits of asparagus.
The only thing I would do differently is mellow the garlic in some olive oil for the sauce. It tasted great the first day, but the leftovers reeked of raw garlic :)

Serves 6 easily

1 lb of penne pasta (or any short pasta)
2 lbs of asparagus
2 red bell peppers roasted or
1 jar prepared roasted red bell peppers
1/4 c of raw cashews
2 to 3 cloves of garlic (medium sized)
1/2 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
1/2 lime juiced
5 tbsp of EVOO (divided)
Salt and pepper to taste
Red chilli flakes to taste

Start making the pasta. While that is in process, make the sauce and prep the asparagus.

First make the sauce. Process the cashews , roasted peppers and 1 clove of garlic in a food processor to form a fairly smooth paste. Add the cumin, balsamic vinegar, 4 tbsps of olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse a couple more times. Taste again and add the red pepper flakes and more salt, vinegar or lime juice as necessary.
Set aside.

Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and slice thinly on the diagonal. Add a tbsp of olive oil to a large saute pan. Add 2 cloves of mashed garlic and stir for a minute. Add the chopped asparagus and cook for no more than 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the pasta is done cooking, drain reserving about a cup of pasta water.
Add the sauce to the asparagus, thin if necessary with the pasta water. Add the hot pasta and toss.

Eat and enjoy.

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