Malfadine with Lemon-Asparagus Sauce

When i started this blog - about 4 years ago - it was to not only share recipes, but also to share the stories behind them. I lost that somewhere along the way. i lost some of the story.

Keeping that in mind, you have to forgive me for posting this recipe at the absolute wrong time of the year. This is a spring dish if i ever tasted one. but i made it this week. When yes, it was warm, but its still october...

However. If you know me in real life, you know that i've seen more than my fair share of Better Than Ezra shows. You know that i have friends - real life friends - that i wouldnt even know if not for my hours on their messageboard and my travels to their shows. You know that when i start talking about someone you dont know, you have to ask 'is that a BTE person?' and you know that quite often, the answer will be yes.

So why is that relevant?  because a funny thing happened along the way. all of us BTE people? we grew up. some became real adults and had kids. some bought houses. some moved - many times. some got married. some broke up. but through the miracle of the internet, so many of us have stayed in touch. held eachothers hands through breakups. been to eachothers weddings. sent presents to those kids. and among it all, theres a number of us who emerged as being almost as obsessed with food as we were with that band - at least 3 of us have food blogs. so now, instead of trading live show tapes, we trade recipes. We send treats to those having a hard time. and not so long ago, i sent 1.5lbs of pasta all the way to california, because one of those friends mentioned that she couldnt find malfadine near her.

now, of course, if someone wants a specific shape pasta for a specific recipe that badly, you know i have to try it too, right?

So that 1.5lbs of malfadine has been sitting in my cabinet waiting for me to get around to this...


I ended up altering the original recipe a bunch, some based on reviewers suggestions, some pulled from other recipes we've known and loved (Cacio e Pepe, i'm looking at you), but the gist is the same... these long skinny lasagna-style noodles finished in an asparagus lemon sauce that just screams SPRING! (even if its October) when you bite into it...

and if you cant find malfadine near you? drop me a line - i'm an expert at shipping it ;)

Malfadine with Lemon-Asparagus Sauce
courtesy of me, loosely adapted from Epicurious

1/2 lb fresh asparagus, tough ends discarded, tips and remaining stems separated
1/2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp softened butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 lb malfadine or other pasta of choice

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Boil a generous amount of water (you will use this water 3 times). Once boiling, add the salt to the water. Watch the volcanic eruption. its fun.

Chop asparagus stems into 1-2" segments. Cook the segments in the boiling water for 6-7 minutes or until very tender. Transfer segments to a colander, reserving cooking water in pot (a slotted spoon or small strainer works well), and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Cook asparagus tips in same boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer tips to a colander, again reserving cooking water in pot and rinse under cold water and set aside,

Purée asparagus stems with oil, butter, garlic, parsley, zest, lemon juice, black pepper and 1/4 cup asparagus cooking water. (be careful, that water is hot)

Cook pasta in boiling asparagus cooking water for about 3/4 the amount of time suggested for al dente pasta. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, drain pasta and remaining water out of the pan.

Return pasta to the dry pan. Add in the asparagus tips, the pureed sauce and the reserved water and cook over high heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning and to ensure the ingredients are combining well. Allow to cook ~ 3 minutes, or until pasta is al dente, and the sauce has thickened and coats pasta well. (it will still be too 'loose' at this point - thats ok, the cheese will help...)

Remove from the heat and stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until cheese is meltedand well combined.

Serve immediately, adding salt to taste.

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