Spaghetti with Asparagus Cream

If your travels take you to the northern borders of Italy, this dish is fairly common.  Asparagus grows plentifully almost all Summer long.  There's nothing better than fresh Asparagus out of the garden.  The beauty of this dish is that a little goes a long way.  Came home to find about 15 fresh Asparagus ready to be picked.   In the time that it takes to boil your pasta, your Asparagus cream is ready.   
Ingredients:  15 or so of the freshest Asparagus you can find
Large pasta pot filled about half way with cold water.   
2 tablespoons of salt (plus extra for the table)
1 large skillet
1 small clove of garlic cut in half 
1 tablespoon of olive oil (plus a drizzle for the plates before serving)
1 food processor
1 tablespoon of lemon peel
1/2 reserved Asparagus water
1/3 cup starchy cooking water you can remove with a measuring cup (while your pasta is boiling). 
12 ounces of spaghetti
3 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano (plus some shavings for the tops of your plates before serving).
Some Parsley leaves for garnish

To prepare this dish, trim your woodsy Asparagus tips off and discard.   With the edge of a knife or using a peeler, trim the stems well peeling away the outer green parts.   Keep the head intact, and about an inch of the stem, then peel.  Give them a rinse in cold water, dry and set aside.
Bring your water in your pot to a slow, steady boil.  Drop your asparagus in, and put a lid on the pot.  Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Carefully remove your Asparagus, drain and pat dry with paper towels. 

Carefully cut the ends off again leaving the tops with about an inch of stem intact. 

Warm your skillet until and cook your garlic for a few seconds until fragrant.   Turn the heat off.  Place your stems in the skillet to coat. 
  Place the cut off ends, garlic, oil (you can remove from the skillet), into the food processor.  Add the reserved asparagus water, cheese, lemon peel, and process for a few seconds.  

 Place your pasta in the water and cook until al dente.  A few minutes before draining, remove 1/3 cup of your starchy cooking water and add it to your food processor.   Process again until smooth.   The starchiness of the water creates a "Fake" cream.  It's hard to tell there is no butter in this sauce.
 Drain your pasta and serve with a few shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, some Parsley, and few grindings of fresh pepper.
Buon Appetito.


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