Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms is a meal that can be made in just 20 minutes. Fresh pasta is coated in a light parmesan and mascarpone sauce and tossed with sauteed mushrooms and al dente asparagus. Serve it as a complete meal or as a side dish.
This recipe for Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms is loosely based on an old Food Network recipe. I have been making it over years, and over time I started to add in some extra seasonings like garlic, basil, and fresh lemon juice. The original version was a little bland and was only seasoned with a touch of nutmeg. I omitted the nutmeg to bring the fresh flavors of citrus and basil to the dish.
Even though this pasta is creamy, it isn’t made with cream. The creamy sauce is made with melted mascarpone which mixes with the lemon juice, pasta water, and parmesan to create a flavorful sauce with a creamy texture.
I highly recommend using fresh pasta for this recipe, it soaks up more of the sauce and the fresh taste of the pasta complements the creamy mascarpone sauce.
The recipe calls for sauteed mushrooms and asparagus but you could add in some cooked and diced chicken or a couple handfuls of spinach. You don’t have to add the pine nuts. I love them, but Charles is weird about nuts in pasta dishes, so sometimes I leave them out.
As this Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms sits, it does soak up the sauce. If you plan on saving some for later, save some of the pasta water. It is best to add about 1/4 cup of the pasta water and a tablespoon or two of mascarpone to a skillet, and once that is warm add the leftover pasta. This will reheat the pasta and prevent it from being too dry.
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How to make Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms:
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 teaspoon Butter
- 2 tablespoons Pine Nuts
- 1 cup Cremini Mushrooms
- Salt and Pepper
- 1-2 cloves of Garlic
- 1 cup of chopped Asparagus
- 1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
- 3/4 cup Mascarpone
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan
- 9 ounces Fresh Pasta
- about 3 tablespoons Pasta Water
- 1 tablespoon chopped Basil
First, you want to toast the pine nuts. This is easy, but you want to give it your full attention because pine nuts go from toasted to burnt very quickly. Melt 1/2 teaspoon of butter over low heat, once the butter has melted, add the nuts and a dash of salt. Toss the nuts around to evenly coat them. Once the nuts are golden brown, take them off the heat and pour them into a small bowl. Do not leave them in the hot skillet or they will burn.
Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. While you are waiting for the water to bowl work on preparing the vegetables and the sauce.
You can use the same skillet that you used for the nuts to prepare the vegetables. Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once it melts add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and toss them around to evenly coat them in butter. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then run the garlic through a garlic press or finely chop it and add it to the mushrooms.
Right after you add the garlic to the mushrooms, add the asparagus. Season with additional salt and pepper and add the lemon juice. Let the asparagus cook for a minute (it will keep cooking while you cook the pasta and combine all the ingredients in the skillet). Then add the mascarpone letting it melt.
This is the time to cook the pasta. Fresh pasta cooks in 2-3 minutes. Cook it until it is a little extra al dente. Once it is ready, you can set some pasta water aside and drain the pasta, but I think it is easier to just use tongs to scoop up the pasta and to add it to the skillet with the vegetables and sauce. This method gets just the right amount of pasta water in the sauce.
Add the chopped basil, parmesan, and toasted pine nuts to the pasta. Stir the pasta and let it cook for one minute before serving.