Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pasta with tomatoes, asparagus and fresh mozzarella

This is just a quick and easy dish that works for lunch or dinner.
For the pasta, I used Trader Joe's lemon-pepper pappardelle, which are delicious, but any other pasta (including, of course, gluten free pasta) will work just as well. If you use non-lemony pasta then giving this dish a good squeeze of lemon juice at the end will make it even better.

Leave off the mozzarella for a version that is both low fat and vegan (but note it will also not have a protein).

Pasta with tomatoes, asparagus and fresh mozzarella

Ingredients (for two generous portions): 
* about 250 grams (8.5ish ounces) of dried pasta (you can also use fresh, of course, but the quantities are up to you). 
* 1-2 tsps olive oil 
* 1 bunch fresh green asparagus (preferably thinner stalks, but whatever you can get)
* 1 large or 2 small-medium tomatoes, preferably ripe and red, diced. 
* 2 cloves of garlic, minced 
* About 1/2 package (4 oz, 100 grams) fresh mozzarella (I prefer the small balls of mozzarella, called ciliegine, but any good fresh mozzarella will do).
* salt and pepper


1. Boil a large pot of water, salt generously and add the pasta (if you're using really fast cooking pasta, like fresh pasta or angel hair, don't add the pasta until you have the other ingredients ready). 

2. Discard the lower third of each asparagus stalk. Chop the rest into pieces, about 1 inch (2 cms) long. About 3 minutes before the pasta is expected to be ready add the asparagus into the boiling water with the pasta. 

3. In a large non-stick pan, heat the olive oil on a medium flame. Add the garlic to the oil and fry until it is lightly golden. Add the tomatoes and then salt and pepper them (seasoning the tomatoes makes them give up their juices more easily, which adds more sauciness without adding unnecessary oil).Stir occasionally while you wait for the pasta to cook.

4. When the pasta is cooked al-dente (the asparagus should also be softer now, but still a bit crunchy) and before you drain it take about two tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and add them to the sauce. Then drain the pasta and asparagus and add them into the pan with the tomatoes. Stir well so that the asparagus and tomatoes are interspersed throughout the pasta.

5. Plate the pasta. Tear the mozzarella into bite-size pieces and add them to the pasta. The cheese will only slightly melt from the heat of the pasta, leaving it's delicious fresh taste.



  1. I made this recipe for dinner last night and it was fantastic. This is going to become a regular in my cooking schedule. How had I not 1) discovered this pasta, and 2) thought about cooking the asparagus in the pasta water, previously?

  2. Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for comment and I'm really glad you like the recipe!

  3. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice makes almost everything better!