Modified from my friend Chelsea's recipe. *Recipe below
2 lbs fresh asparagus, tough ends removed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup tofutti cream cheese
whole wheat spaghetti
tomato-basil topping (recipe below)
Cut asparagus into 1" pieces, reserving tips separately. Cook asparagus stems in 5 to 6 qrt boiling water with 2 Tbsp salt until very tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to blender, reserving cooking water in pot.
Drizzle asparagus tips with olive oil and fresh ground salt & pepper and roast/broil until tender.
Purée asparagus stems with oil, tofutti cream cheese and 1/2 cup asparagus cooking water.
Cook pasta in boiling asparagus cooking water. Reserve 2 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
Put pasta, asparagus sauce and a little bit of reserved pasta water back in to pot and heat through. Place serving of pasta with sauce on plate and top with roasted asparagus spears, grilled chicken and a spoonful of tomato-basil topping. Yum!
Tomato Basil Topping
1 large ripe tomato, diced fine
8-10 large basil leaves, chopped fine
1 large garlic clove minced fine
extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground salt & pepper
Mix all together and let sit at room temperature for at least 10-15 minutes.
Cheslea's Asparagus Pasta Original Recipe:
1 lb fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 tsp finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb whole wheat penne or pasta of choice
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
Cut asparagus into 1" pieces, reserving tips separately. Cook asparagus stems in 5 to 6 qrt boiling water with 2 Tbsp salt until very tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander, reserving cooking water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain asparagus well and transfer to a food processor or blender.
Cook asparagus tips in same boiling water until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to colander, reserving boiling water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain tips well.
Purée asparagus stems with zest, oil, and 1/2 cup asparagus cooking water. Transfer sauce to a 4-qrt saucepan.
Cook pasta in boiling asparagus cooking water until it still offers considerable resistance to the tooth, around three fourths of the recommended cooking time. Reserve 2 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
Add pasta, asparagus tips, and 1/2 cup reserved water to asparagus sauce and cook over high heat, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes, or until pasta is almost al dente and sauce coats pasta. Add more cooking water, 1/4 cup at a time, until sauce coats pasta but is a little loose (the cheese will thicken it slightly).
Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted.