Penne Rigate with Asparagus in a Citrus-Scented Cream Sauce

Penne Rigate with Asparagus in a Citrus-Scented Cream Sauce

The zest of lemon and orange delicately scent this pasta dish, while the earthy flavors of the sautéed asparagus add a mellow and grassy flavor.  Although this is a vegetarian dish, you can easily transform it with the addition of cooked, lump crabmeat.

Total Active Time:  30 minutes

Serves four to six


1 lb. dried penne rigate pasta (preferably whole grain/wheat)

1 ½ cup heavy cream

1 lb. fresh asparagus, ends removed, cut diagonally into ¾-1 inch pieces

1 large (or 2 small) shallots, finely sliced

1 whole lemon, zested

½ orange, zested

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 ½ Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

½ cup fresh or frozen peas

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Fill large pot with water and bring to boil.  Once bubbling add a handful of kosher salt to water to season the pasta.  Add pasta to the water and cook until al dente.  In a sauté pan, add the extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium.  Add the trimmed and chopped asparagus to the hot oil, allowing them to brown slightly.  Next, add the sliced shallots and brown until caramelized.  Once caramelized, reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream, juice and zest of the orange and lemon, chopped mint and peas just to heat through.

Drain the penne and add the pasta to cream mixture.  Toss well to coat the pasta.  Divide between plates and serve.


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