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Cavatappi with Asparagus, Arugula, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese
Well aware that most vegetarian pasta recipes feature a flavorless, boring pile of starch, randomly studded
with bland vegetables and topped with a mound of low-quality grated cheese, we set out to develop a vegetarian pasta
recipe with big and intense flavors that would also be easy to make.
The keys to our best vegetarian pasta recipe turned out to be sautéing asparagus and other vegetables to deepen
their flavors and using restraint with a balance of salty, sweet, and sour ingredients in order to let the asparagus
Cavatappi is a short, tubular corkscrew-shaped pasta. Penne is a fine substitute. If you prefer,
use mild-flavored baby spinach in place of peppery arugula. The grated apple, added
just before serving, balances the other flavors in this dish.
1 tablespoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 pound cavatappi
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound asparagus , bottom 1 inch trimmed and discarded, spears halved lengthwise if larger than 1/2 inch in diameter and cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup walnuts , chopped
4 cups arugula (lightly packed), washed and dried thoroughly (about 1 bunch)
6 ounces blue cheese , preferably Roquefort, crumbled
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Granny Smith apple , peeled, for grating over pasta
1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until
al dente. Drain and return to pot.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until beginning to smoke.
Add asparagus, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, without stirring, until asparagus begins to brown,
about 1 minute.
Add walnuts and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until asparagus is tender-crisp and nuts are
toasted, about 4 minutes; toss in arugula until wilted.
Add asparagus mixture, cheese, vinegar, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil to pasta in stockpot; toss to combine.
Serve immediately, grating apple over individual servings.