Before we delve into more kitchen fun, please forgive some lack of modesty and let me share this delightful profile of my work by the Marin Independent Journal's Vicki Larson. I hope you enjoy it. And now for your spring table.
I was a caterer a lifetime ago, a fairly successful one at that. And I loved it, the inventiveness, the rush, the esthetics, the people, the research. The flip side was the constant lack of time. Among the many shortcuts caterers take to add hours to their days, foregoing decent nutrition ranks in the top 3.
But I was lucky, my business partner and dearest friend, Yolanda Garretti, dieter extraordinaire, kept us on path with healthy and quick creations we could throw together between balancing a stack of a baroness's 17th century plates and the salt in our risotto.
This spring dish remains my favorite.
Pennette piccanti agli asparagi ~ Pennette in spicy asparagus sauce
Snap the bottom whitish part off the asparagus stem and peel off the more fibrous exterior. Steam the asparagus until soft but still bright green.
Cut off the tips and roughly cut the stems. Set the tips aside and place the stems in a blender or food processor with the olive oil. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
Blend until completely smooth and pour in a warm bowl.
Cook the pennette in a generous pot of salted boiling water until well al dente. Drain and toss with the asparagus cream and the tips, adding a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of cooking water if the pasta is not creamy enough.
Dust with the parmigiano and serve immediately.