Asparagus lemon pasta

Photo: Justin Logan

I love Pastini’s farfalle with lemon asparagus. At least I did until they quit offering it.1And they haven’t started making it again, even after receiving multiple customer feedback cards. ;-) Update: They did bring it back, though I think just for a seasonal dish. I’ll take it. So I searched for an alternative I could make. I found the Best Asparagus Lemon Pasta recipe at This is my take on the recipe with directions that help me keep everything straight.

Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest2The first time I tried this recipe, I tried to zest my lemons after squeezing them. That order doesn’t work very well. Zest ’em first! Or, just leave it out. You might not notice.
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Other Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta3I prefer farfalle pasta, probably because that’s what Pastini’s uses.
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely cut
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper


  • Substitute broccoli for asparagus
  • Pistachio nuts


Preparing this goes fairly fast. It will be done in the time it takes to heat the water and cook the pasta.

Put the water on the stove for the pasta and turn the heat on high. Add salt according to the directions and your taste.

In the meantime, after starting the water, add the butter to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. After the butter has melted, add the heavy cream. Stir occasionally while it’s heating.

While waiting for the water to boil and the butter and cream mixture to heat to near boil, cut the asparagus4The grocery store didn’t have asparagus I wanted so I got broccoli instead and cut it into small pieces. into smallish pieces, maybe an inch long. A diagonal cut could be nice.

Squeeze lemons to make the lemon juice.

Maybe about this time, the water has started to boil. Add the pasta and start a timer. Put the veggies in a steamer or the microwave to cook, but not overcook. Then add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt to the sauce. Stir occasionally while the rest of the stuff cooks.

Finely5And finally? ;-) cut the fresh basil.

By now, the veggies should be done and the pasta cooked. Before you drain the pasta, you can put 1/4 cup of the pasta water in the sauce.6If one of your kinds of pasta is gluten-free, that’s probably the water you want to use. Your friends with celiac will thank you. The starch helps the sauce stick to the pasta.

At this point, you could add the sauce, asparagus, basil, and some of the parmesan cheese to the pasta and stir. Because we cook multiple kinds of pasta, we let everyone mix their own.7A word of warning: the sauce is good and lemony. If your pasta is dripping with sauce, it’s probably too much.

Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Mmm… Asparagus lemon pasta. :-)


Asparagus isn’t always in season. We like to use broccoli as a backup.

When Pastini’s makes their version of this, they also sprinkle pistachio nuts on top. Pine nuts would probably be good, too. Recommended.

Photo credit: Thanks to Justin Logan for (1) trying out the recipe, (3) taking a picture of his results, and (3) letting me use it here! :-)

Sunriver Vacation, Day 4

Day four of our vacation was thankfully uneventful, at least in comparison. A storm thundered through (though no rain), closing the swimming pool. We retreated to Pastini in Bend to enjoy a wonderful meal.

It was a perfect day to take more pictures of clouds. The last three are by Jamison. I like his eye. :-)