Creamy Spinach & Asparagus Pasta with Almond & Lemon Breadcrumbs

Creamy Spinach & Asparagus Pasta

with Almond & Lemon Breadcrumbs

30 MIN
$12.94/serving 2 Servings
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    From the Test Kitchen

    Here, ribbons of fettuccine are tossed in a cream sauce along with spinach, asparagus, and our warming quatre épices—or four spices. It all gets delicious contrast from a finishing layer of crispy breadcrumbs, pan-toasted with garlic, lemon zest, and crunchy almonds.
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    • Nutrition
      PER SERVING
    • Calories
      990 Cals (est.)
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    ingredients
    Creamy Spinach & Asparagus Pasta with Almond & Lemon Breadcrumbs
    Title
    • 3 oz Diced Pancetta
    • ½ lb Fettuccine Pasta
    • 5 oz Baby Spinach
    • 2 cloves Garlic
    • 1 Lemon
    • 4 oz Mushrooms
    • 6 oz Asparagus
    • ¼ cup Cream
    • ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
    • 1 oz Salted Butter
    • ¼ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
    • 2 Tbsps Sliced Roasted Almonds
    • 1 tsp Quatre Épices (White Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger & Cloves)
    • 1 Shallot
    time-saving
    tips & techniques
    Prepare the ingredients
    1 Prepare the ingredients

    Fill a medium pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Using a zester or the small side of a box grater, finely grate the lemon to get 1 teaspoon. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Peel 2 cloves of garlic. Roughly chop 1 clove. Using a zester or the small side of a box grater, finely grate the remaining clove. Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Thinly slice the mushrooms. Snap off and discard the tough, woody stem ends of the asparagus; cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (keeping the pointed tips intact).

    Cook the pancetta
    2 Cook the pancetta

    In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

    Make the almond breadcrumbs
    3 Make the almond breadcrumbs

    In the pan of reserved fond, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the almonds and breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the lemon zest and garlic paste; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until combined. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan.

    Cook the pasta
    4 Cook the pasta

    Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

    Cook the vegetables
    5 Cook the vegetables

    Meanwhile, in the same pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced mushrooms and asparagus pieces in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the sliced shallot and chopped garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the quatre épices (you will have extra). Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is melted and fragrant (it should smell nutty and toasted). Add the spinach; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat.

    Finish the pasta & serve your dish
    6 Finish the pasta & serve your dish

    Transfer the cooked vegetables to the pot of cooked pasta. Add the cream, half the cheese, the juice of 2 lemon wedges, and half the reserved pasta water. Cook on medium-high, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until combined and the pasta is coated (if necessary, gradually add the remaining cooking water to ensure the pasta is thoroughly coated). Turn off the heat. Serve the finished pasta topped with the cooked pancettaalmond breadcrumbs, and remaining cheese. Serve the remaining lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy! 

    Tips from Home Chefs

    Prepare the ingredients
    1 Prepare the ingredients

    Fill a medium pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Using a zester or the small side of a box grater, finely grate the lemon to get 1 teaspoon. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Peel 2 cloves of garlic. Roughly chop 1 clove. Using a zester or the small side of a box grater, finely grate the remaining clove. Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Thinly slice the mushrooms. Snap off and discard the tough, woody stem ends of the asparagus; cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (keeping the pointed tips intact).

    2 Cook the pancetta

    In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

    Cook the pancetta
    Make the almond breadcrumbs
    3 Make the almond breadcrumbs

    In the pan of reserved fond, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the almonds and breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the lemon zest and garlic paste; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until combined. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan.

    4 Cook the pasta

    Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

    Cook the pasta
    Cook the vegetables
    5 Cook the vegetables

    Meanwhile, in the same pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced mushrooms and asparagus pieces in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the sliced shallot and chopped garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the quatre épices (you will have extra). Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is melted and fragrant (it should smell nutty and toasted). Add the spinach; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat.

    6 Finish the pasta & serve your dish

    Transfer the cooked vegetables to the pot of cooked pasta. Add the cream, half the cheese, the juice of 2 lemon wedges, and half the reserved pasta water. Cook on medium-high, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until combined and the pasta is coated (if necessary, gradually add the remaining cooking water to ensure the pasta is thoroughly coated). Turn off the heat. Serve the finished pasta topped with the cooked pancettaalmond breadcrumbs, and remaining cheese. Serve the remaining lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy! 

    Finish the pasta & serve your dish
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