Baked Rigatoni with an asparagus cream sauce

My spring break is over and school (well, work for me) started up again yesterday. I’m think I’m okay with that because that just means that we are getting closer to summer vacation and let’s not kid ourselves here–that’s the main perk of being a teacher! I’m back to going to sleep early, getting into a routine, and longing for the weekends. It’s okay though because I also have some lovely recipes to get me through the week as well! And now so will you!

You have to love asparagus for this one. For the most part, this recipe is relatively low-fat, I used a very small amount of cream. Actually after I pureed it there really was no need for the cream, but, eh, why not?? Also, I think that if you don’t use a bit of cream it will dry up when you bake it. But if you’re a vegan or are trying to keep this extremely low-fat then just skip it.

If you’re short on time, then skip the baking part. I was so hungry that I contemplated doing this, but I stayed the course and the reward was worth it–a crispy and chewy browned parmesan layer on the top with a warm, creamy asparagus sauce underneath. Perfection.

Here’s what you need:

1 box of rigatoni

1 bunch of thin asparagus, cut the tips off and set aside and cut off the bottom 2 inches of the stalks, then cut into small 1 inch pieces

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 small onion, chopped (I wanted to use shallots but my grocery store was out of them, try them if you have them)

lemon zest, to taste

1/2 cup of chicken broth

evoo/salt/pepper/grated nutmeg (optional)

Here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Cook your pasta in salted water until al dente.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil for your pasta, boil your asparagus stalks, not the tips. Cook for about 5 minutes. Don’t toss the water when they’re done. Just fish them out with a slotted spoon.

While that’s going, in a medium sauce pan saute your onions in a bit of evoo. After a few minutes, add the garlic. Then add your chicken broth and the asparagus stalks that you just boiled. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook down the broth a bit and make sure the asparagus are tender.

In the small pot, toss in the asparagus tips and cook for a few minutes. Don’t over cook them! When they are finished, drain, and set aside.

Transfer your broth/asparagus stalk mixture into a container and use an immersion blender to puree. You can also do this in a blender if you don’t have one.

Return the puree back to the pan, add a bit of cream and lemon zest, and mix together. Toss in the asparagus tips and nutmeg (if you’re using it).

Now you’re ready to mix your sauce and pasta. Combine in the pot. Add salt/pepper if necessary. Then transfer to a baking dish, top with grated parmesan cheese, and bake for about 15 minutes. Finish in the broiler for a crispy, browned top!

Happy cooking!

–Melissa

 

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Categories: Main Dishes, Pasta Sauces, Pasta/Italian, Recipes, Vegetarian

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5 Comments on “Baked Rigatoni with an asparagus cream sauce”

  1. April 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Mmmm buona! I love asparagus!

  2. Miriam
    April 3, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    That sounds great Melissa

    • April 3, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks, Miriam! We miss you! 🙂

  3. Mike
    April 3, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    I was thinking a baked macaroni with green for tonight and this popped up. Perfect! I’m making it tonight with fresh rigatoni! Thanks!

    • April 3, 2013 at 8:41 am #

      Perfect, happy to hear that!! Enjoy! Let me know how it turns out!

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