Bowtie Pasta in Spicy Asparagus Cream | CUESA

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Bowtie Pasta in Spicy Asparagus Cream


Viola Buitoni, Culinary Educator

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on March 1, 2014.

I eat a lot of pasta, always have and always will. As will my child. As will my husband…unless he wishes for a different wife. I am Italian, so pasta is its own food group for me. My 12-shelves pantry has three dedicated to pasta, I cleared a drawerful of sweaters to make room for my canned tomatoes, and there is always at least 1 kilo of Parmigiano and Pecorino in my refrigerator.  I am both a deeply passionate and very lazy cook, one who recognizes that, while she adores food and the making of it, there are many other things in her life that require and deserve attention.  This is why I have a never-ending and ever-growing collection of pasta recipes that I can make in the time that it takes the water to boil and the pasta to cook.

Serves 6


1 bunch asparagus
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more to taste
1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta


1.    Snap the bottom, whitish part of the stems off the asparagus stalks. If the exterior still looks fibrous, peel it lightly. Steam the asparagus until soft but still bright green. Cut off the tips and set aside. 

2.    Roughly chop the cooked asparagus stems and blend them into a smooth creamy paste with the olive oil.

3.    Season the asparagus cream with salt and red pepper flakes to taste and fold in the reserved asparagus tips.

4.    Cook the farfalle pasta in a generous amount of salted, boiling water until al dente.

5.    Transfer the cooked pasta, straining it lightly, to the asparagus cream and toss together gently.  Reserve the cooking liquid for adding to the pasta (see next step).

6.    Sprinkle the pasta and sauce with a handful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, adding small quantities of pasta cooking water until you have reached the desired creaminess.

7.    Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately with a bowl of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »