So we do eat vegetarian meals occasionally (hard to believe, I know, based on the other recipes I’ve recommended), and I wanted to share one of those with you today. This one is light and summery (hey, it still feels like summer here in Mesquite), and the flavor profile is a surefire winner.
You can find the original recipe in Betty Crocker’s big red cookbook or on their website, but here’s my slightly altered version:
Lemon Pepper Pasta with Asparagus
2 cups uncooked farfalle pasta (if you’re looking for a variety that commonly comes in whole grain, penne would work just as well)
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice (or as much lemon juice as you can squeeze out of one lemon)
1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed (or the equivalent amount of prepared dry beans, of course)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Cook and drain the pasta as directed on the package. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute the bell pepper, asparagus, lemon peel, salt, and pepper in the oil, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Stir the lemon juice and white beans into the vegetable mixture. Cook until the beans are hot, about 2 minutes. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss everything together. Top with more freshly ground black pepper and/or grated parmesan cheese, if you like.
The original recipe calls for cannellini or navy beans, but we’ve found white beans to be the perfect combination of texture and flavor for this dish. (Actually, I have a sneaking suspicion navy beans are white beans, since I can’t find canned navy beans at our grocery story, but that suspicion is unconfirmed.) Also, we once substituted grated lime peel and lime juice for the lemon peel and lemon juice, but I didn’t like it as much.
Hope you give this one a try sometime. Feel free to wait until next spring, though, as asparagus will be in season then.