Toss spaghetti with panko bread crumb-coated white asparagus for a restaurant-quality vegetarian dinner.
8 - ounces dried spaghetti
2 - tablespoons olive oil
2 - tablespoons butter
1 1/2 - bunches asparagus (12 oz.), washed, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
6 - cloves garlic, minced
1/3 - cup hazelnuts or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped*
1/3 - cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 - cup finely shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese (1 oz.)
3 - tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 - teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 - teaspoon cracked green or black peppercorns
1 - tablespoon hazelnut oil (optional)
1 - tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid; set aside.
In a deep 12-inch skillet heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add asparagus; cook 5 minutes or until almost tender and beginning to blister, stirring occasionally. (Butter will turn golden brown.) Add garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes, until garlic is golden and asparagus is blistered.
Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add hazelnuts and panko. Cook 8 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; transfer to a bowl. Stir in cheese.
Add spaghetti, lemon juice, peppercorns, and salt to skillet with asparagus; toss to combine. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to reach desired consistency. Sprinkle with half the panko mixture; toss again. Top with remaining panko mixture. If desired, drizzle with hazelnut oil. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 servings. *Tip: To toast nuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake 10 minutes or until golden, stirring once. Transfer to a kitchen towel. Rub to remove skins.
FROM THE TEST KITCHEN
To toast hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake about 10 minutes or until slightly golden, stirring once. Place warm nuts on a clean kitchen towel. Rub the nuts with the towel to remove the loose skins.
NUTRITION FACTS (Spaghetti with Seared Asparagus)
Per serving: 305 kcal , 15 g fat (5 g sat. fat , 1 g polyunsaturated fat , 8 g monounsaturated fat ), 16 mg chol. , 254 mg sodium , 35 g carb. , 3 g fiber , 3 g sugar , 9 g pro.