Coming to you with this creamy, lemony pasta that’s under 10 ingredients and presents a really delicious way to eat a lot of asparagus. I have to admit that asparagus is not my favorite vegetable, but I still eat tons of it in the spring because the mission here is to learn to love and take full advantage of all vegetables in season. I do find asparagus to be truly enjoyable in this pasta – it’s hard not to when it’s framed by carbs and a rich, creamy sauce.
This dish comes together pretty quickly. We whip up a simple lemony cashew sauce in the blender and blanch the asparagus together with the pasta, then mix it all together and serve. The brightness and acidity of the lemon punctuates the richness of the sauce and gives the whole thing a sunny feel. Hope you’ll give it a try!
- ½ cup raw cashews
- sea salt
- 1 clove garlic - roughly chopped
- zest and juice from 1 large lemon
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 12 oz spaghetti or other pasta of choice
- about 13 oz asparagus - tough ends snapped, cut into 2-inch pieces
- basil or parsley - for garnishing (optional)
- Soak the cashews in hot water for at least 15 minutes. Set a large pot of well-salted water to boil.
- In an upright blender, combine the drained cashews with ¾ cup water, garlic, lemon zest (reserve some for garnishing), lemon juice, nutritional yeast, pepper, red pepper flakes if using, and a generous pinch of salt. Blend until very smooth. Taste for salt and adjust if needed, the sauce should be fairly salty.
- Cook the pasta in the prepared pot until al dente, according to the time on the package. Add the asparagus to the pot at the last 3 minutes of cooking the pasta, to blanch. Reserve 1½ cups of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta. Drain the asparagus and pasta and return both to the pot. Pour the cashew sauce over the pasta, along with a generous splash of the reserved pasta water, mix well to combine. Add more pasta water as needed, until you have a nice saucy consistency. Serve right away, garnished with the reserved lemon zest and herbs, if using.