fettuccini and asparagusThe splash of vodka works as a flavor enhancer, adding a little jolt to the creamy sauce. This was one of Kenny’s favorite meatless Monday meals.  I served with a small salad and garlic bread.


8 ounces uncooked fettuccine

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 pound fresh asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch pieces

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon vodka or water

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup milk

1.5 ounces vegetarian Parmesan cheese, grated (about 6 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add asparagus, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sauté 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat. Add rind and juice; toss. Keep warm.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add vodka and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add cream cheese, stirring until smooth. Stir in milk, Parmesan cheese, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in reserved pasta water, pasta, and asparagus; toss to coat noodles. Sprinkle with chives.


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