Spicy Pasta with Asparagus

My friend Carol gave me this recipe many years ago. I like it because the fresh asparagus makes it a little more special than just a bowl of noodles, while the heat from the red pepper flakes and hot sauce is a little unexpected (but good!). I prefer to make it when I can get my hands on very thin asparagus, about the thickness of a pencil.

Carol’s original recipe calls for the addition of butter (1 tablespoon) and Parmesan or Romano cheese (about 1/4 cup). I left the dairy out this time because I served two pasta dishes for our Mother’s Day lunch today, and the other one was meat. If you leave the butter and cheese out, this dish is just as good served at room temperature (or even cold) as it is hot from the pan.

Spicy Pasta with Asparagus
Adapted from Carol’s recipe

12 oz. pasta (similar in shape to asparagus pieces, such as penne or gemelli)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. fresh young asparagus, trimmed & cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1½ tsp. dried red pepper flakes
2-3 dashes hot sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to the package directions.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté asparagus in the oil for 5 minutes, then add garlic, red pepper, and hot sauce. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until asparagus is softened but not mushy.

Add drained pasta to the skillet and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Add additional olive oil, butter, or grated cheese if desired.

10 thoughts on “Spicy Pasta with Asparagus

  1. Looks great and fresh!

    I love the way gemelli looks in a picture. It’s so pretty :)

    If you ever can’t find those desirous skinny asparagus, just take a peeler and simply peel down your thicker asparagus. You’ll peel off the outer tough exterior and reveal the more tender part underneath (or maybe you already knew that!)

  2. This looks fabulous! I love pasta dishes where just a few ingredients lend such big flavor. I can’t wait to try this. Nice work, and great photo!

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