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Bowl of pasta with asparagus, peas, and lemon in a white bowl with a glass of white wine.

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, Lemon, and Creme Fraiche

This recipe makes the most of asparagus and peas when they are sweet and tender in the springtime. You don't need much more than s few spoonfuls of crème fraîche and generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice to make a nourishing pasta that you will want to come back to every spring.  

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 435 kcal
Author katiemorford

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces dried pasta, such as penne, fusilli, or rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced spring onions (or thinly sliced red onion or shallots)
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces snap peas, tough strings removed, cut into ½-inch pieces ( 1 ½ cups)
  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen defrosted English peas
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons juice)
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to pass at the table

Instructions

  1. Put a large pot of water over high heat with enough added salt that it tastes like the sea. When the water boils, add the pasta.
  2. While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium. Add the onions and sauté until tender, 3 minutes or so. Add the asparagus, snap peas, English peas, salt, and pepper and sauté until crisp/tender, 3 to 4 minutes (they should still have a little snap to them, but no starchiness).

  3. When the pasta is al dente, scoop about ½ cup of water from the pot and set aside. Drain the pasta through a colander set in the sink. Shake well.
  4. Add pasta to the pan with the vegetables set over low heat. Add the lemon zest and juice, crème fraîche, mint, Parmesan, and a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Taste and add more salt, more freshly ground black pepper, and more pasta cooking water as needed.

  5. Serve immediately with more Parmesan to add at the table.

Recipe Notes

Crème fraîche is a French-style cultured cream that is rich, thick, and slightly tangy. It's sold in the dairy or cheese section of the market and is also easy to make (though it takes several days). If you can't get crème fraîche, substitute sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt and cut the amount of lemon juice in half.