Veggies and Cream {zucchini and asparagus tagliatelle}

Our household isn’t big on cream sauces. It’s not because we don’t like cream – it’s not that at all. I have been known to pocket the individual creamers from restaurants for the world’s tiniest roady on the way home. Any time I have cream in the house, there will inevitably come a moment wherein I sneak toward the fridge, grab the carton, check over both of my shoulders to make sure no one is looking, and take a swig. We like cream. We like it a bit too much. That’s why we don’t make cream sauces.

Except sometimes. Like recently, when I found a recipe for tagliatelle with baby vegetables and lemon parmesan sauce in my Bon Appetit app. (It’s a great app, by the way). I’m not sure if I was drawn to the recipe by the cream or the baby vegetables – you know I like baby things – but either way, I decided that we should go ahead and make our annual cream-based pasta dish.

I feel pretty hypocritical promoting a dish that loosely resembles an alfredo because every time I see someone order fettucine alfredo, I hit my head and mutter “d’oh” wondering if they know that they’re on the verge of a caloric intake suitable for a medium-sized family. But really, who doesn’t crave something like this every once in a while? To make us feel better, we take comfort in knowing that there are plenty of veggies, no butter and really, in the grand scheme of things, only a small amount of heavy whipping cream.

I made a couple of changes to the recipe based on what I had at home and my preferred veggies. I do this with most recipes. Feel free to do that with mine.

Here’s the low-down:

  • 3/4 lb. fresh tagliatelle
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Look: veggies!

This is starting off nicely, don’t you think? Prep your veg according to my very strict instructions above.

And now for the rest. I used my microplane for the lemon zest and the parmesan. I like the texture it gives you.

Grab a skillet and heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, then add your zucchini and asparagus and cook them for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften but before they turn to mush. Add the lemon zest. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Boil your pasta and remember to do what? Let’s all say it together: to reserve some of the cooking liquid. Good. Once the pasta is cooked, it’s time to assemble. Either in your skillet or in the pasta pot if you need more room, add the cream, lemon juice, veggies, parmesan and pasta. Add some of the pasta water to mixture to loosen things up if you need to and stir away over medium-low heat.

See – it’s really not that bad. I think I ended up feeling guiltier than I needed to. Look at those veggies! Those creamy, creamy veggies.