Lemony Asparagus Pasta

Lemony Asparagus Pasta

Penne and asparagus are bathed in a rich sauce with a slight bite of mustard, lemon and Parmesan. This dish is lovely in early spring, when asparagus is at its peak and nights are still cool enough to inspire a craving for something rich and warm.

From EatingWell: June/July 2006, EatingWell Serves Two
Yield: 2 servings, 1 1/2 cups each
Active Time: 35
Total Time: 35


  1. 4 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta, (about 1 1/2 cups)
  2. 1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  3. 3/4 cup whole milk
  4. 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  5. 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  6. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  9. 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  10. 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  11. 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  12. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  13. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 6 minutes. Add asparagus and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, about 3 minutes more. Drain and return to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tarragon, lemon zest and juice.
  3. Stir the sauce into the cooked pasta and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick, creamy and coats the pasta. Stir 1/4 cup Parmesan into the pasta until combined. Serve the pasta topped with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.


Nutrition Per Serving: 396 calories; 12 g fat (6 g sat, 4 g mono); 27 mg cholesterol; 54 g carbohydrates; 21 g protein; 6 g fiber; 604 mg sodium; 396 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (40% daily value), Folate (23% dv), Magnesium (19% dv), Vitamin A & Vitamin C (15% dv).

3 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 whole milk, 1 lean meat