Asparagus is a flavorful summer vegetable that can be grilled, steamed, roasted, or blanched. Fresh asparagus can be added to a variety of pasta dishes, including those with cream sauces, or lighter dishes that are simply dressed with oil. The flavor of asparagus also pairs well with pasta dishes that contain protein, such as chicken or seafood. Asparagus generally adds color, as well as an interesting taste and texture, to pasta recipes.
Pasta is also very versatile, and a number of ingredients and sauces can be combined with it to make a meal. Asparagus pasta can be light or heavy depending on the sauce and other ingredients used. Pieces of the vegetable pair well with heavier cream sauces, such as an Alfredo sauce. Cooked asparagus can be sliced into small pieces and added directly to a bowl of pasta, or the stalks may be kept whole.
For a stronger flavor from the vegetable, an asparagus pasta dish can be made by using it to make an asparagus cream sauce. The cooked asparagus can be combined with heavy cream, garlic, and Parmesan cheese, and then blended until the sauce is smooth. This can be used to top any type of pasta, and spears of asparagus may be used as a garnish for the dish. For an entirely different asparagus pasta recipe, a light, tomato-based marinara sauce can also be used to coat both the vegetable and noodles.
During the warm months when asparagus is in season, many people like to prepare asparagus pasta recipes that are light. These simple dishes can be made by combining cooked pasta with asparagus, olive oil, garlic, and a small amount of cheese. Crumbled pieces of bacon may also be added. Asparagus may also be used to make a pesto sauce that has a lot of flavor without being heavy. This twist on a traditional pesto sauce can be made by combining cooked asparagus, spinach leaves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a food processor, and blending it until smooth.
Adding protein to a pasta dish can make is heartier and more filling. Asparagus pasta dishes commonly call for chicken or seafood, such as shrimp. In such recipes, the chosen meat should be fully cooked and well seasoned before being added. If using chicken, whole pieces may be placed on top of a bed of asparagus pasta, or the chicken can be sliced into small, bite-sized pieces before being added. Such asparagus pasta dishes are often served with garlic bread and a salad to make a complete, balanced meal.