This Garlicky Asparagus Pasta with Cashew Parmesan is beautifully complex, with notes of spicy, salty and tangy. The asparagus adds texture and healthfulness, and the salty, tasty cashew parmesan adds the perfect kick of flavor. A vegan, soy-free recipe, can be made with gluten-free pasta.
Here’s an easy weeknight pasta recipe that I throw together for the family in under 30 minutes, and it’s so delicious, we can’t have enough of it. My Garlicky Asparagus Pasta with Cashew Parmesan.
I shared the cashew parm recipe with you yesterday, and boy, is it mindblowing. The first time I made it, Desi demanded to know if I’d been sneaking in real parmesan into the pantry. Yes, it’s that good. And sprinkled on top of this absolutely gorgeous Garlicky Asparagus Pasta, it is even better.
You can use any pasta shape for this recipe– small shapes like cavatappi or farfalle or even macaroni — or long ones like spaghetti, fettuccine or angel hair pasta. The sauce is an amped-up version of the Italian classic Aglio e Olio, or pasta with olive oil, and all it needs are … ingredients:
-red pepper flakes
-extra virgin olive oil
-garlic, lots of it
-a dash of oregano
-parsley, if you want, for garnish
-asparagus, of course
And salt and ground black pepper, of course.
Asparagus, like pine nuts, are an ingredient I usually buy only when I can find it on sale, because it tends to be, at least in groceries here in the D.C. area, rather expensive. But early Spring is asparagus season, so if you love these nutty, delicious stalks, this is the time to be on the lookout.
I like the flavor of asparagus so much, I tend to use it in recipes where it can shine through without competition from too many ingredients. The garlic, although a strong flavor, complements the asparagus perfectly in this minimalist recipe.
I hope you’ll try this Garlicky Asparagus Pasta, and if you do, let me know how it turned out for you.
- 1 pound dry pasta
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus stalks, trimmed of woody ends and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 8 large cloves garlic, crushed (about 3 heaping tablespoons). Sounds like a lot, I know, but it's delicious in here.
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (use more or less based on your tolerance for heat)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- A few tablespoons of cashew parmesan for sprinkling (recipe link in notes below)
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley, optional, for garnish
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil and garlic to a large pot and turn on the heat to medium-low. Adding the garlic to the cold oil and letting them heat up together will allow the garlicky flavor to better infuse the oil without burning the garlic. Doing this over low heat is also important. It will take about 7-8 minutes for the garlic to start changing color.
At that point, add the red pepper flakes and oregano to the oil, stir to mix, then add the asparagus. Add salt and ground black pepper to season and cook five minutes or until the asparagus is cooked but still has a good bite to it.
Turn off the heat, add the pasta to the pot, then add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add lemon juice and zest. Mix thoroughly and add more salt if needed. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve with a bowl of cashew parm on the side to sprinkle over the pasta.
- Recipe for vegan parmesan
- Nutrition information does not include vegan parmesan