Brown butter adds a delicious nutty taste to this simple pasta dish, which showcases garden-fresh asparagus.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma
- 2 tablespoons salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, skinned and coarsely chopped
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
- 1 pound gemelli or other short pasta, such as penne
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 BLANCH THE ASPARAGUS: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons salt and the asparagus and cook just until tender, about 4 minutes.
- 2 Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to a colander and drain; set aside. Return the water to a boil.
- 3 MAKE THE SAUCE: In a large fry pan over low heat, melt the butter. When it stops foaming and the solids begin to separate, use a shallow spoon to skim off most of the solids.
- 4 Cook until the butter is lightly browned, about 2 minutes; be careful that it does not burn. Add the hazelnuts and season with salt. Add the asparagus and toss. Remove from the heat.
- 5 COOK THE PASTA: Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
- 6 Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavors. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce.
- 7 Season with salt and pepper. Top with the cheese and serve immediately.