Why is it that this is the day after Cinco de Mayo and all I can think about is Italian food? We had an adventure this week of going to Temecula, CA to meet up with 20 of our closest friends for lunch. Because it is a 6 hour trip from our house, we went the night before and found a great little Italian restaurant called Trattoria Toscana, where the pasta was freshly made and the eggplant literally melted in our mouths. The waiter’s Italian accent was so heavy, I could hardly understand him, but when I heard, lobster ravioli, I figured that was really all I needed to hear. Randy kept looking at me with this precious “love me tender, love me true” look which I took that he was just so glad to get me off to himself for a couple of days, but no, it was the eggplant that was on his mind. He was quick to blurt out, “no really, this eggplant is literally melting in my mouth. It is the best eggplant I have ever eaten” to which I knew immediately where his “look” was coming from. He was choosing the pasta over his princess. But if Im going to take second place, I’m glad it is to a great pasta dish. Every since we ate there, all I can think about is making pasta and finding new recipes for eggplant. But in the meantime, I came across this recipe in a Southern Living Magazine from 2016. So until I can get my hands on an eggplant, this dish will suffice, along with fresh garlic bread and tomato-mozzarella salad.
8 oz uncooked fettuccine
1 teas olive oil
1 lb fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
3/4 teas kosher salt, divided
1/2 teas black pepper, divided
1 teas lemon zest
2 teas fresh lemon juice
1 tables butter
1 tables vodka or water
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
6 tables grated Parmesan cheese
1 tables chopped fresh chives
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander over a large bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add asparagus, 1/4 teas of the salt and 1/4 teas of the pepper. Sauce until tender crisp about 6 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add lemon zest and juice, toss. Keep warm.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add vodka (or water) and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add cream cheese, stirring until smooth. Stir in milk, Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/2 teas salt and the remaining pepper. Stir in reserved cooking water, pasta and asparagus and toss. Sprinkle with chives.