Grilled Asparagus with Spring Spaghetti
I think Spring has abandoned us up here in the frozen tundra because this morning it felt a lot like December and nothing like March…
Most of our snow had melted last week. However, we had a doosie of a blizzard this week, and now the roads are covered in ice and snow (and even some eggs in some places). I’m from Minnesota. I know what to expect in March. And maybe I’ve gotten spoiled over the last few placid winters, but I’m ready for Spring.
Even my orchid signified its readiness for Spring by blooming for the first time in two years!
This recipe is my calling card for Spring. I’m beckoning Spring not to abandon us. I’m pleading with Spring to find its way to bring us at least above freezing temperatures. My Spring coat is ready. My Winter mittens are tired and want to go back into storage.
Asparagus, grilling, fresh herbs, light sauces, and citrus flavors all reach out to Spring and say “we are ready for you!”
Since it is still too cold to grill outside (arg!), I used my handy grill pan for the asparagus. I actually prefer to use the grill pan for asparagus because then the skinny veggies can’t fall between the grates to their firey doom. Spring is all about simplicty. So, I just tossed the asparagus in some olive oil before grilling and sprinkled some ginger sea salt on them after grilling. You will want to find the skinniest asparagus you can find. Skinny asparagus is from a younger plant, which usually yeilds more tender and less woody stalks.
The sauce couldn’t be easier. Really. Heat some olive oil in a small sauce pan, drop in the flavor, cook for a minute or two, and toss with the cooked pasta. Done. For flavor, I used garlic, a dried hot pepper, fresh parsley, and lemon zest.
This meal hit the spot with both my husband and me. We loved this so much we didn’t even speak until our last few bites, and then all we could manage between bites was: “Wow! This is *chomp chomp* so good! *chomp chomp*”.
Now, let’s see if Spring hears me calling and decides bully Winter into hiding again.
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 dried hot pepper, chopped (or 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes)
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Ginger sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain. Add the lemon juice and stir to coat all the pasta. Set aside.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat.
- Trim the asparagus. I like to hold the bottom of the stalk with one hand. With my other hand, I grab the top of the stalk and bend it until it breaks. The asparagus will break at the point where the woody end stops. Discard the ends. Toss the asparagus in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Place the asparagus on the grill pan and let cook for about 3 minutes. When marks appear on the asparagus, turn over using tongs. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until al dente; the cooking time will depend on the size of the stalks. The asparagus should still have a good crunch to it. Remove from heat and sprinkle with ginger sea salt (or plain sea salt).
- Heat the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Stir in the lemon zest, garlic, parsley, and hot pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic begins to brown.
- Pour sauce over pasta. Add the toasted pine nuts and stir well to coat. Taste. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
- To serve, place a pile of pasta on a plate, top with a few spears of asparagus, and think about Spring.