It’s hard to believe a pasta dish can feel both light and rich at the same time, but this one full of spring vegetables and finished with a touch of cream truly does. We’ve kept the cream to a minimum, and achieved a good deal of silky texture by using some of the pasta water in the sauce. A toasted breadcrumb topping brings heat, crunch, and lemony brightness to each bowl.
What you’ll need:
8 oz rigatoni pasta, De Cecco brand rigatoni number 24
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (0.69 oz)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (0.03 oz)
6 small parsley sprigs (0.5 oz)
1 lemon (4 oz)
1 oz piece Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic (0.6 oz)
1 shallot (1.9 oz)
1 zucchini – 6-7.5 oz
6 spears (or 3 fat) purple asparagus (5 oz)
½ cup heavy cream (4 oz)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Prep pangrattato
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove leaves from parsley stems, then finely chop. Wash and zest the lemon. Grate the cheese.
2. Make pangrattato
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over high heat. When hot, add breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until breadcrumbs are golden, about 1-2 minutes. Pour into a bowl and add parsley, 1/2 the lemon zest and cheese. Set aside.
3. Prep the vegetables
Peel and finely chop the garlic and shallot (1/4 cup). Remove the ends from the zucchini then thinly slice into rounds. Trim ends from asparagus then cut in half lengthwise if the spears are fat, then crosswise into 2 inch pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and saute until fragrant, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add zucchini and asparagus and season with salt and pepper then cook, tossing occasionally until vegetables are lightly softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Cook pasta
Once water is boiling, cook pasta until almost al dente, about 9 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta and set aside.
5. Finish the sauce
Return the skillet to medium heat, add the cream and 1/4 cup pasta water and swirl to mix. Cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
6. Plate and serve your pasta
Add pasta to the skillet and toss gently to combine and finish cooking, about 3 minutes, adding more pasta water if needed. Stir in remaining lemon zest. Divide rigatoni among two serving bowls. Sprinkle with pangrattato and serve. Enjoy!