Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pasta with Shaved Asparagus, Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella

Last Friday I bought two beautiful mounds of fresh mozzarella cheese from the Italian Market in Annapolis. I planned to use it for the Asparagus & Arugula Pizza that I wanted to make for my mom on Sunday. While I was out Friday, my mom emailed me to let me know that she bought everything for her Mother's Day dinner. I never ended up making the pizza and instead I ate the meal my mom made - steak, shredded kale salad, corn on the cob, and bread. It was delicious, and as my mom likes to say, it was a true  "Costco" dinner. My mom really should be a spokesperson for Costco or something. She is in love with that place.

Well, I wanted to do something with my beautiful cheese that I had bought. I had also got other ingredients for the pizza that I had planned to make Sunday. I didn't have time to make the pizza this week, so I made a quick pasta dish instead with many of the ingredients I would have used in the pizza.  It was a very easy meal and Greg and I enjoyed it all week. I thought it tasted great warm for dinner, but I also really enjoyed it cold for lunches during the week. I'll add this meal to the list of vegetarian meals that are easy, filling, healthy, and full of flavor!

Recipe for Pasta with Shaved Asparagus & Cherry Tomatoes

16 ounces of penne pasta
3 Tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Several grinds of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. of Kosher salt
16 pieces of green asparagus, tough ends removed
1 container of Boursin garlic and herbs cheese (5.2 ounces)
1 pint of cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes)
6 - 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt (about 1 Tbsp.) to the boiling water, then add in pasta and cook according to package directions. Cook about 1 minute past al dente style.
While the pasta is cooking, cut the asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 1 - 2 inch pieces, then cut lengthwise to make thin pieces of asparagus. Put the asparagus into a medium-sized bowl and add in the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss well to coat.
Drain the pasta in a colander, then return to the pot. Stir in the asparagus and olive oil mixture. Place over very low heat and mix well for several seconds. Remove pot from heat and stir in the Boursin cheese; mix well to incorporate. If desired, add in a little more lemon juice. Top with some extra salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes and then divide into serving dishes. Top each dish with several pieces of cubed mozzarella cheese.

Recipe makes approximately 8 servings. Inspired by the Asparagus & Arugula Pizza Recipe

NOTE: If you plan on having enough for leftovers, it is best not to add in all the tomatoes. Stir in the tomatoes when you serve again, because tomatoes do not save well in the fridge.