Inspired by the delicious roasted asparagus earlier this month and this Smitten Kitchen recipe for Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta I bookmarked ages ago and didn't bother rereading, I put together a colorful, spring pasta dish with Roasted Asparagus, Lemon and Feta.
Roasting the asparagus takes time but it does such a great job sharpening its natural sweetness that I think it is worth the effort. The asparagus provides an excellent counterpoint to the lemon and feta's tanginess - right when they seemed almost too much its sweetness kicked in. I found the balance of flavors very satisfying, even though I forgot to add the shrimp I meant to toss in for some protein.
This dish was sunny, bright and made me smile with each bite. If you're in a hurry, you can definitely blanch the asparagus by cooking it with the pasta for the last few minutes of its cooking time instead of roasting it. The result will likely be pretty similar.
Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Feta Pasta
1/2 Pound Pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1 Pound Asparagus
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 Medium Lemon, zested and juiced (if you want less tang, use less juice)
1/4 to 1/2 C. Crumbled Feta
1. Put on a pot of water, bringing it to a boil. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet or two with foil (for easy clean-up).
2. Wash asparagus, snap it off where it breaks naturally to remove woody ends, then cut into thirds. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on sheets and roast in oven for 12-15 minutes.
3. Once the water comes to a boil cook pasta according to the package's directions. When it is finished reserve 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
4. While the pasta and asparagus cook, zest the lemon and juice it into a large bowl. Add the crumbled feta.
5. Remove asparagus from oven to cool slightly.
6. Add pasta water and pasta to the bowl containing the lemon/feta mixture. Add asparagus. Toss to combine and enjoy. The pasta water, lemon juice and feta will make a light "sauce."