Entree - Can be gluten and lactose free (READ footnotes)
I love asparagus and use them anytime I can get my hands on some... obviously, they mean "Spring" but sometimes I just crave them and buy them frozen. This was not the case but, when you really love something, you do all you can to eat it as often as you can ;-) Now, since I like them so much, I normally use A LOT of them so don't get scared...
1 lb Italian bowties pasta
16 medium shrimp
1 lb asparagus
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup brandy
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add salt.
Snap asparagus in two and put both pieces in the water. Cook to your desired doneness, then remove from water (which is where you'll cook pasta), and turn the heat off.
When asparagus is ready, cut it in pieces, leaving the tips a little longer. Scrape the "pulp" of the asparagus' bottom and blend it with some cooking water, enough to obtain a smooth cream.
On medium-high heat, warm olive oil in a non-stick skillet and sautee onions for about 5 minutes, then add asparagus pieces. When sauteed, deglaze pan with brandy and, once alcohol evaporates, add a few tbsp of the cooking water.
Bring the water back to a boil, without adding any salt! When it boils, stir in bowties.
In a different skillet, sautee garlic and hot pepper flakes in 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat, add the shrimp and sautee until almost done. Add to the skillet with asparagus, then stir in the asparagus cream and let cook a few minutes, or until it's at your desired thickness. Set aside.
Drain bowties (reserving some water) and toss them in the skillet with the sauce; if it's too thick add some pasta water to thin it.
This recipe serves 4
- You can use cooked shrimp, which will shorten their sauteeing time quite a bit.
- Please, avoid Parmigiano for this dish: its strength will cover the delicate taste of asparagus and shrimp.
- It can be gluten and lactose free as long as you use GF pasta and no cream cheese (you can thicken your sauce with a little corn starch, which happens to be gluten free ;-) ).