Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Penne with Pistachios, Asparagus, and Cream

From Cuisine At Home

1/3 C pistachio nuts
1 lb thin asparagus, cut into thirds
1/4 C unsalted butter
1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/3 C dry white wine
1 C half and half
1/4 C heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 lb penne pasta
1 C freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet for 5-7 minutes; cool, chop and set aside.
Cook the asparagus in a stock pot in boiling salted water, uncovered, over medium-high heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove asparagus, saving the water.
Saute the garlic in butter in a saute pan over medium heat, pressing the garlic with a wooden spoon to release its flavor. When the edges start to brown, remove and discard the garlic.
Add the asparagus and pepper. Increase heat to high and pour in the wine, stirring for about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium.
Pour the half and half and cream over asparagus mixture and simmer about 2 minutes. Season with salt; keep warm while boiling the pasta.
Prepare penne (in asparagus water) according to package directions; drain and return to the pot. Combine asparagus sauce with pasta, stirring over low heat. Add cheese, stirring until it melts; transfer to a platter.
Garnish with pistachio nuts and serve immediately.

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