Lemon Asparagus Pasta


Lemon Asparagus Pasta

This light pasta dish is easy to make and has loads of flavour! Wonderful for a midweek dinner.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword angel hair pasta, asparagus, lemon, parmesan sauce, vegetarian pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author misangela


  • 1/4 box angela hair pasta You can use any type you like, but longer holds the sauce better.
  • 1 bundle asparagus, cut thinly on bias longways or shaved on mandoline (you want it to be bendable when cooked so it's easy to eat with the pasta) about 1#
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbl EVOO extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbl butter I always use salted; it really doesn't matter
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice (about 2-3 Tbl juice) Medium size, if large, it may only take one or 1.5 lemons. Use fresh juice in this dish.
  • 1/2 cup white wine optional
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan use a good one for this dish (reggiano)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbl fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 Tbl fresh parsley, medium chop
  • salt to taste


  • Put on 2 qt of water to boil.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium and add EVOO. When oil is hot, add asparagus and garlic. Salt the veg as it gently sautés. Adjust heat towards med hi to get a very light sizzle.
  • When water boils, add a heaping tablespoon of salt, then add pasta. Angel hair cooks in about 8 minutes.
  • When veg is soft, add lemon zest, red pepper flakes and wine. Cook for another minute, then turn down heat to low if you are waiting for the pasta.
  • When pasta is done (al dente, don't overcook it), use a pasta spoon to transfer to the skillet with veg. (Don't drain it, you'll need some of that pasta water!)
  • Combine pasta with veg and turn heat back to medium. Add lemon juice, parmesan and basil. Stir fairly aggressively to release the starch from the pasta and coat with cheese and butter. Add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to create a light sauce. Check the salt level and overall flavour. The pasta should have soaked up the light sauce and be relatively dry. This is not a saucy dish, but it should be silky and the pasta should taste like the sauce. Adjust water, butter and parmesan to achieve this.
  • Serve with parmesan and chopped parsley.


I did the asparagus in stages. I cooked about 3/4 of it, then I added the rest at the end of cooking so it would keep some crunch and freshness. 
If your asparagus is rather thick, use a peeler to remove the bottom peel. This will make it more pliable and less woody. 
Do not put in the lemon juice while the asparagus is sautéing. It will become bitter. Always add citrus juice after the main cooking is done.