Asparagus and Arugula Pasta with Almond Butter Crisp

29 May


’twas a rainy [Memorial Day] Monday, and I had done a bit too much “celebrating” over the weekend. I needed something that was hearty, appetizing, and didn’t involve too much effort because man was I tired. Extra points for including asparagus. I went back and forth between 2 pasta dishes: one had a pork and apple ragu, one had an asparagus and an almond crisp. After what seemed like months of deliberation, I settled on the asparagus.

{ Asparagus and Arugula Pasta with Almond Butter Crisp – Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izzard }

Why did I make that decision? Well it involved a topping that was made up of butter, toasted almonds, roasted garlic, and parmesan. Wowza, I think that’s what I want my tombstone to read (“Here lays Erica, she was a big fan of the following products: butter, toasted almonds, roasted garlic, and parmesan”…but then again “Here lays Erica: Breakin’ necks and Cashin’ checks since 1987” has a nice ring to is as well, just rolls off the tongue really). 

So the first thing to tackle was the whole head of roasted garlic (I get chills every time I write/think/say that). The one time I’ve tried to make a whole head of roasted garlic I put it in the microwave with some type of garlic roasting apparatei, and the whole thing started smoking and I was upset because my entire head of garlic was ruined, the kitchen smelled like weird smoke for 3 days, and I was out $0.75. I was determined to turn things around. I followed instructions.

Take your head of garlic and slice off the top 1/4 exposing the cloves

GarlicPlace on tinfoil, and drizzle with olive oil and salt

GarlicDrixxleWrap tinfoil into a Hershey’s Kiss-like teardrop around the garlic, and roast at 400F for about 40 minutes (feel free to pop in some almond slices for the last 5 minutes of roasting to get them a nice toast)

Now combine room temperature butter, the whole head of roasted garlic (no skins, please), bread crumbs, some chili paste, parmesan cheese, and the newly toasted almonds (be careful, don’t you crack those almonds)

AlmondMixIt’s okay to sneak a taste of this, because sweet jesus I would eat this out of the garbage. I will now find excuses to make this as a “garnish” for upcoming dishes

AlmondCrispPop this in the fridge to harden up. Oh, it’s hard now? Throw it in a pan over med-high heat and let’s crisp this sucka (and yes, it smelled JUST as good as you’re imagining)

AlmondCrispCookNow: Asparagus Time.

AsparagusCookSaute for a good 3-4 minutes to get a nice vibrant green color (think a cartoon character getting sea sick), and add some chicken stock, soy sauce, and water. Hell, let’s throw in some more chili paste because I just can’t get enough

AsparagusStirLet the liquid cook down to about half and add some fresh peppery arugula

ArugulaGive it a good stir to wilt, top with some cooked linguine (I opt for whole grain because it’s good for you you guys), fresh lemon zest and the glorious almond butter crisp

MixDig in.

ForkTwirlJust. Delightful. And hey, one more for the road: whole head of roasted garlic.


Adapted from { Asparagus and Arugula Pasta with Almond Butter Crisp – Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izzard }

  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 Tbs butter, warmed to room temperature
  • 1/4 c. bread crumbs (I went with panko)
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs Sambal or other Chili paste
  • 1 C. sliced almonds
  • 1 box linguine (1 lb)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb asparagus, sliced in diagonal 1-in pieces
  • 1/2 C. chicken broth
  • 1.5 Tbs soy sauce
  • handful of baby arugula
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  1. Place butter out on the counter to come to room temperature. Just forget about it now and be surprised when you stumble upon it later in the recipe when you need it.
  2. Roast your garlic. Slice off the top 1/4 of the garlic head to expose cloves and place on tinfoil. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and fold up tinfoil edges to a point. Roast for 40 minutes at 400F. Mince the garlic pieces that you cut off and set aside. Pop in the almonds during the last 5 minutes of roasting to toast.
  3. Mix you almost-forgotten-about room temperature butter, bread crumbs, 1 Tbs of the Sambal, and parmesan together to form a paste. Gently (gently!) fold in your almonds. Pop in the fridge to harden.
  4. Cook pasta in salted water and reverse 1/2 C of the cooking liquid.
  5. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add asparagus and reserved garlic mince. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth, pasta cooking water, remaining 1 Tbs Sambal, and soy sauce to asparagus and simmer until cooked down(town) to about half.
  6. Add arugula and lemon zest to asparagus mixture and mix to wilt. Toss with pasta.
  7. Serve this as a Choose-your-own-adventure: mix the almond butter crisp right in with the pasta (like I did), or serve the crisp on top of the pasta (which gives more of a “wow” factor)






3 Responses to “Asparagus and Arugula Pasta with Almond Butter Crisp”

  1. sybaritica May 29, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    Great combination of flavors and textures in there!

  2. Megan @ MegGoesNomNom May 30, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    Love Stephanie Izzard, though I’ve never actually tried any of her recipes. I watched her give a demo at the A2 library downtown a few years ago and tried one of her scallops. And sweet jesus, I think I would also eat that garlic mixture outta the garbage. 😉

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