Fettuccine with Asparagus and Morels
- 2 lb. asparagus
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for
- 1 large, sweet white onion, such as Vidalia, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 lb. fresh morel mushrooms, quartered
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- Leaves from 5 large fresh thyme sprigs, coarsely
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 lb. fresh fettuccine
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Using a large skimmer, transfer the asparagus to a colander, reserving the cooking water. Run cold water over the asparagus to preserve its bright green color and to stop the cooking. Drain the asparagus and set aside.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the 1/3 cup olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft and just starting to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, morels and asparagus, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the thyme and lemon juice and mix well.
Meanwhile, return the reserved asparagus-cooking water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 3 minutes. Drain well and add to the fry pan. Add the pine nuts and parsley and toss briefly to blend all the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings, and add a drizzle of olive oil.
Transfer the pasta to a warmed large, shallow bowl and sprinkle about 3 Tbs. of the cheese over the top. Pass the remaining cheese at the table. Serve immediately.