This Lemon Asparagus Pasta has a hint of nutmeg and a sprinkle of toasted bread crumbs that take it totally over the top. Now nutmeg may sound like an unexpected ingredient here but Alton Brown told me to do it and I trust him so… it absolutely does work though. The nutmeg really brings out the bright flavor of the asparagus which is balanced with the creamy sauce and the zesty lemon. If you want a better description than “it tastes good, trust me”, I will redirect you to the Good Eats episode on asparagus where Alton Brown can tell you all about it. I hadn’t watched Good Eats in years and then I got sick and was quarantined to our bedroom for 5+ days and discovered he released new episodes and even redid some of the classics. It really strikes the balance of food and science for me and I love it.
Back to pasta. First you boil the pasta and the asparagus in the same pot. You put the pasta in first and let it cook until it’s *almost* done and then you throw in the asparagus at the end to quickly boil. Before you drain the pasta, make sure you reserve some of the starchy pasta water. To make the sauce, you melt down butter and the sauté garlic and shallots until your kitchen smells like heaven. And then you add in a little cream or milk, cheese, salt, and nutmeg. After you toss the pasta into the sauce, you can slowly add in some pasta water until you get your desired consistency.
Oh and don’t forget your zesty toasted breadcrumbs. Melt a tiny bit more butter, toast your bread crumbs, and toss with lemon zest and salt. Serve up your pasta and top with breadcrumbs, more Parmesan, and a sprinkle of freshly ground nutmeg. Yum!