Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Spaghetti with White Asparagus, Lima Beans, and Parmesan

White asparagus has never attracted my interest. I like bright green asparagus and white asparagus is always much pricier. Until today...when I found it at a local grocery store for $1/lb (vs. $3/lb for green). Sensing an opportunity and thinking about the white truffle oil I was recently gifted with, I decided it was white asparagus day.

White asparagus, I learned, is white because it is denied access to the light which allows the plant to produce chlorophyll and be green. I found I didn't feel good about this - Strike 1. The other main difference from green asparagus, apart from its milder taste, is that white asparagus must be peeled or it is tough and stringy. Strike 2.

But, happily, there was no strike 3. I parboiled the peeled asparagus in salty water, along with some frozen lima beans. I boiled my spaghetti rigati (yes, that's flat spaghetti with little ridges!) then sauteed the asparagus and beans in olive oil and minced garlic. Added four peeled and sliced white mushrooms, 1/4 lemon's juice, and a generous dash of white truffle oil. Added the cooked spaghetti to the vegetables, plus salt and ground Tellicherry Pepper (thanks Christine), a little more olive oil, a dash of balsamic vinegar then topped my plate off with grated Parmesan Reggiano.

The asparagus was mild and watery, the lima beans were dense and protein-packed, the mushrooms were succulent and garlicy, the lemon and white truffle oil were there, but in the background, and the Parmesan was salty and bold. And I just love that Spaghetti Rigati! Bon appetito!


Blogger christine said...

Isn't that Tellicherry pepper wonderful? And your pasta dish looks fabulous. I've never seen white asparagus except in a can (yuk), where did you find yours? Thanks for the mention Catherine.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks beautifull Catherine!

1:30 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Christine,

It is. The first time I used it, my dish was super peppery because its so much stronger than my regular pepper. Believe it or not, I found the white asparagus at Safeway.

Thanks, Dianne!

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Hi, I visit your blog all the time, I'm a veggie myself and your food is awesome.)

This is interesting! Coincidentally, I made a pureed (green) asparagus and shiitake soup with shallots and tarragon this week. I made a double batch, then it hit me that it would be delicious over pasta with some parmesan. I couldn't think of a good protein to put with it, so I just sprinkled some pine nuts on it... but I love the lima beans idea!

It's been a good week for asparagus. I'm with you on the white stuff, though LOL.

P.S. Hope this didn't double post... had a login issue.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Mo,

Thanks so much for your kind words. I bet the pine nuts were delicious with the asparagus. I was actually going to use peas but when went for the lima to add a contrasting texture (the white asparagus was watery) and kick up the protein.

9:09 AM  

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