Spring Pasta: Buttery Lemony Asparagus & Squash Casarecce


For quite some time now I have been following Frank Prisinzano on social media and have even had the chance to dine in his restraints and meet him on occasion. He is the kind of chef I adore because not only does he truly LOVE food, but his passion for teaching people how to get comfortable int he kitchen is infectious. I’ve always been into cooking and as I’ve done it more and more over the last 10 years I’ve gained a whole confidence in the kitchen that is truly empowering, and it’s something I love inspiring in my friends and community, just like Frank. That’s why my meals aren't always the most specific of precise with measurements because the point is, so much of cooking is eyeballing and improvising. The methods can be important but sometimes it just takes time to learn how much salt is too much salt.

So this recipe is a play on one he has mastered and one I feel like I’ve made pretty freaking well a few times myself. His spaghetti limone - which is a simple blend of al dente dried pasta, a bit of the starchy salty pasta water, butter, and lemon. Whisked around with a flat wooden spoon until emulsified into a perfectly creamy sauce.

Since I feel like I’ve somewhat mastered the simple variation, and since I wanted the dinner to have a bit more of a veggie component I decided to experiment with adding yellow squash and asparagus from my latest Imperfect Produce box. I wasn’t sure about the best way to do this, so who did I call? My mom. Cause mom always has the answers to life’s toughest questions. Sure enough, she had a perfect idea and that’s exactly what I did!

What I Used (for 2 people plus leftovers):

  • 3 cups dried pasta (I used casarecce)
  • 1/2 cup starchy salty pasta water
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trim the ends and slice diagonally
  • 1 large yellow squash cut in half and then quarters, sliced
  • 1/3 stick of unsalted butter 

How To:

  1. In a medium-sized pot bring salted water to a boil.
  2. Drop in your pasta while boiling and cook for about 10 minutes
  3. At 10 minutes, use a ladle to scoop out some of the water (approx 1 cup)
  4. Right away add your veggies to your boiling pasta and cook for 1 more minute - basically blanching your veggies so they bright and slightly tender
  5. Then strain the pasta and veggies together, toss back in the pot after straining
  6. add the butter, juice from both lemons and then the actual lemon from just 1 lemon. Add in half a cup of the pasta water and start to vigorously stir with a flat wooden spoon.
  7. If it needs more liquid add more of the starchy water until you have a light creamy sauce.
  8. Serve up immediately. Option to add fresh grated parmesan, cracked black pepper etc!

I ended up serving mine with crispy sliced chicken cutlets for some protein but the dish was most delish on its own!`