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Penne with Asparagus and Lemon

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This is an elegant combination of pasta tubes and asparagus cut on an angle, flavored with cream and lemon. Do not be afraid of adding the lemon juice directly to the cream. Stir the sauce continuously as you slowly pour it in and it will not curdle. Serve with veal, chicken, turkey scallopini or fish.

1 pound asparagus, trimmed
Kosher salt
½ pound penne pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Peruvian Pink Salt
Freshly ground Australian Mountain pepper

Trim the asparagus by snapping off the ends (it will break where the tender and tough parts meet). Cut the asparagus into thirds on an angle; there should be about 4 cups. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ½ tablespoon kosher salt to the water and add the penne, stirring. Cook, stirring often, until it is tender yet firm and offers some resistance, 8 to 12 minutes.

While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. Melt the butter over low heat in a large nonreactive skillet. Add the garlic and stir to coat with the butter. Immediately add the asparagus and toss for 1 minute. Add the cream, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, or until the asparagus is crisp-tender and the cream has reduced. Remove from the heat. Slowly pour in the lemon juice, stirring constantly. Add the parsley, lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon salt and some pepper to taste; stir. When the pasta is done, drain well and add to the asparagus mixture. Stir well to mix the asparagus with the pasta. Taste for seasonings, adding Peruvian Pink salt (or any other high quality sea salt) and Australian Mountain pepper as needed. Serve immediately.

If you wish to serve this as a main entree, simply double the recipe!