By: Chef Laura Bonicelli
Rhubarb and Asparagus Pasta with Walnuts and Goat Cheese delights anyone looking for a unique Spring dish. It’s light, fresh, sweet, savory, and delicious!
What a combination!
I’m taking a hint from Mother nature in this recipe, by thinking if certain ingredients all show up at the same time in the growing season, maybe she is implying something. I took three of them, rhubarb, asparagus, and green onions, and came up with this. After a long winter, “Rhubarb Asparagus Pasta with Walnuts and Goat Cheese” is a perfect “Welcome Spring” dish.
This main-dish pasta goes together so quickly! It takes longer to cook the pasta than it does to put the rest of the recipe together. But, my favorite thing about this recipe is the fact that the combination of ingredients is unique. Rhubarb is usually baked into a pie or crumble or made into a sauce or jam. However, it’s not typical in a savory dish. It’s the perfect pairing with walnuts (we already knew that), but also Asparagus. The green onions lend their specific flavor to all of the ingredients. It’s light, fresh, crisp, and healthy!
I’d characterize cooking these vegetables as an extremely “light touch” sauté. You’re giving them just enough heat to bring out their color and transform their flavor from raw to slightly cooked. Then, that’s it. Overcooking will completely change the dish – so remove the onions and asparagus from the pan to a plate as sooner than later.
About the Recipe
The same rule of a “light touch” applies to sautéing the rhubarb as well. However, even if it does start to get jammy, the sauciness is also delightful. So, you really can’t go wrong here. Bring out the special balsamic vinegar for this; it won’t be a waste. A little sugar helps to cut the acrid quality of the rhubarb and makes the vinegar into a dressing.
I like to toss everything but the rhubarb mixture all together in a bowl to make sure that the walnut oil, lemon zest, and seasonings reach all of the pasta and vegetables. If you don’t have walnut oil, extra-virgin olive oil works very well.
Finally, I plate the pasta and top it with rhubarb and dollops of goat cheese. Leftovers store perfectly, keep the rhubarb separate from the pasta and vegetables until you’re ready to reheat and serve.
I hope you love this recipe! Buon Appetito!
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Step by Step Instructions
Rhubarb and Asparagus Pasta with Walnuts and Goat Cheese
- 1/2 pound uncooked spaghetti -- or other pasta
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 green onions -- sliced - white and light-green parts
- 12 asparagus spears -- woody parts snapped off and remaining spears cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups rhubarb -- trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts halves
- 2 teaspoons walnut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt -- to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces goat cheese for topping
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and cook for 20 seconds. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove the asparagus mixture to a plate.
- In the same pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rhubarb and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until starting to soften, but still crisp. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and the sugar and remove from the heat.
- Place the pasta in a large bowl. Add the asparagus mixture, walnuts, walnut oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Divide among 4 plates.
- Top each serving with the balsamic rhubarb mixture and dollops of goat cheese.
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