Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables especially when incorporated into a fabulous dish. My kids dislike asparagus but love Creamy Pasta with Asparagus & Bacon – they say that bacon makes everything better!
I am guilty of buying asparagus, putting it away in the refrigerator drawer, and finding it when it has only a day or so left. Fresh green beans are also really nice in this dish. If you have family with selective palates, this is a wonderful way to get them to eat vegetables – the creamy and flavorful sauce complements the vegetables well.
I love to add extra garnish to complement the bacon and Parmesan. I grab some fresh herbs from my little herb garden, chop them, and sprinkle on top. Then I cut a lemon and squeeze a bit of juice over the pasta. The added color and freshness of the herbs mixed with the brightness of the lemon are lovely.
8 slices bacon – chopped
8 oz. Baby-Bella mushrooms – sliced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups milk, divided (2 cups and 1 cup)
12 oz. Farfalle pasta (Bowtie pasta)
1 lb. asparagus – trim the tough ends and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. cream cheese – softened
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup Parmesan cheese – shredded or freshly grated
- Cook the pasta about 3 minutes less than the lowest minutes given on the package – not yet al dente. Drain the pasta, rinse, and set aside.
- In a 12-inch nonstick skillet or a cast iron skillet (my favorite), cook the bacon until crispy.
- Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour the bacon grease into a bowl – do not discard because you will need some later.
- Using the same pan from the bacon, heat to medium heat, add the mushrooms, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Cook the mushrooms until browned and the liquid is mostly evaporated – 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the same plate as bacon.
- In a larger pot, add the broth, 2 cups of milk, the pasta, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer and cook for about 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally and moderating the heat so the mixture simmers but doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in the asparagus and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes – until the asparagus is tender and the pasta is al dente but still slightly firm (it will continue to cook). There will be a bit of liquid left; that is how it should be as it will help make the creamy sauce in the next step.
- In a blender, combine 1 cup of milk, cream cheese, and flour and blend until completely smooth.
- Slowly add the mixture to the pot while stirring quickly to combine. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Reserve a bit of bacon for a garnish and stir the rest of the bacon with the mushrooms into the sauce.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Plate the pasta and garnish with bacon and more Parmesan cheese, if desired.
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