Photo by Ken Burris.Lemon zest ties all the flavors together in this light and creamy pasta. Make it a meal: Serve with a salad of sliced fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes tossed with a little fresh basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
8 ounces whole-wheat Penne pasta 1 bunch Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 1 1/2 cups whole Milk 4 teaspoons whole-grain Mustard 4 teaspoons Flour 1/2 teaspoon Salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper 2 teaspoons extra-virgin Olive oil 3 tablespoons minced Garlic 2 teaspoons minced fresh Tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried 1 teaspoon freshly grated Lemon zest 2 teaspoons Lemon juice 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add asparagus and continue cooking until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, 3 minutes more. Drain and return to the pot. Meanwhile, whisk milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tarragon, lemon zest and juice. Stir the sauce into the pasta-asparagus mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sauce is thick, creamy and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Omit the added salt to reduce the sodium in this dish.
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