Lemony Pasta with Asparagus and Smoked Trout—cooks in a flash and tastes of spring
I really want it to be spring already, so I decided to make it in a bowl with Lemony Pasta with Asparagus and Smoked Trout. This comes together so fast—you can be eating in about the time it takes you to cook pasta, making this a perfect weeknight dish. Use the pasta you have on hand—I used spaghetti—but fettucine or bucatini are especially good.
Asparagus—a harbinger of spring
Asparagus is the first taste of spring, and, while hardly local, I’ve been getting very good asparagus for a couple of weeks now. Here it’s quickly cooked, so you get that crispness as a contrast to the pasta. Combined with the tart lemon, you get a lovely brightness with this dish, but it’s still comforting for when March is acting more like a lion than a lamb.
Smoked trout lends a nice kick and adds substance
If you’re like me and usually have a tin of smoked trout in your larder, you’ll have most of the ingredients for Lemony Pasta with Asparagus and Smoked Trout already on hand (use the leftover smoked trout to make a half batch of Smoked Trout Rillettes!). The smokiness of the fish gives this dish an unusual kick and makes it a little more filling. I’ll confess: pasta is supposed to be a first course, but if I make this, I often usually just consider it dinner, along with a simple salad.
The lemon pasta sauce lends itself to endless variations
Think of the base lemon sauce as a template, and a perfect pasta sauce for your back pocket. If you don’t have or don’t like smoked trout on hand, add some grated parmesan to the sauce just after the cream, and take it in a different direction. Don’t be afraid to turn up the lemon, either. I often just go ahead and zest and juice a whole lemon, but I like it tart.
Other serving ideas if you don’t have asparagus or smoked trout on hand
Top with sliced Better Than Meal Kit Chicken, and maybe some sautéed mushrooms, and you have a rich and comforting dish. Or, swap out the asparagus for peas (or maybe just add both?). A handful of arugula is tasty, too (add this when you add the pasta). All this is to say that you have options, depending on your taste and what you have on hand.
Don’t drain your pasta!
One trick with the pasta that saves you a dish—don’t drain it. Just grab it with tongs, give it a quick shake, and add it to the pan with the sauce. This gets some of that magic pasta water in the pan, without you having to dip a measuring cup in boiling water or risking forgetting it altogether. (Yes, I read Bon Appétit.)
Lemony Pasta with Asparagus and Smoked Trout is my favorite variation of this dish
While the possibilities are endless with this lemon sauce, the asparagus and smoked trout is my favorite variation, and I hope that you’ll enjoy Lemony Pasta with Asparagus and Smoked Trout. Let me know if you make it! Recipe and video below.
Lemony Pasta with Asparagus and Smoked Trout
- ⅓ pound dried pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccini, cooked al dente
- 8 spears asparagus use the slender spears
- ½ tbs olive oil
- ½ tbs unsalted butter
- 1 tbs shallot, minced to taste
- ½ lemon, zested and juiced use more if you want more intense lemon flavor
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ½ tin smoked trout in oil, drained and broken up slightly with a fork if skin-on, remove
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the asparagus in salted water until you can pierce it with a fork, but it's still crisp and bright green. Remove promptly (if you fear that they are overcooked, add them to ice water to stop the cooking), pat dry with paper towels. Slice on the diagonal, separating the stalks from the tips
- In a heavy bottomed pan with sloped sides (you'll be adding the pasta to this), heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, and cook, stirring, until the shallots have softened
- Start cooking your pasta
- Lower the heat, and add the lemon zest, and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds or so. Add the lemon juice, and stir, for about another 30 seconds
- Add the cream, and stir to combine, cook slowly, until the cream has thickened (you don't want the cream to boil)
- Add the asparagus and smoked trout, and stir gently to combine (you don't want all of the smoked trout to break up. Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Turn off the heat
- When the pasta has finished cooking, grab it with tongs and shake it a little to drain it (you want a little pasta water to get into the sauce), and add it to the pan (if the sauce has been cooling for a bit, turn the heat on very low). Toss to coat
- To serve, top with the asparagus tips