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A Meatless Monday in Spring

Posted May 02 2011 12:00am

“Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts.” ~ Charles Lamb, English poet and essayist (1775-1834)

Sometimes cooking is the art of reflecting what we are seeing around us – or the way we wish life to be.

Asparagus brings the freshness of spring to the table, and it can do so in many ways. Here, we roast it in the oven and combine it with the earthiness of mushrooms, the brightness of lemon, and the tingle of pepper. Long strands of linguine tie it all together.

Choose whole wheat linguine to enhance the nutritional value of the dish and to compliment the gentle earthiness of the other flavors.

Spring Linguine
Time: 35 minutes

For each serving: 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large white mushroom
5 asparagus stalks, bottom ends snapped off
3 ounces whole wheat linguine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Coarsely ground pepper and salt

Generously oil a baking dish with olive oil and preheat oven to 450° F.

Clean and cut the mushroom into ¼-inch vertical slices (they are going to shrink a lot). Toss with the olive oil in the baking pan and spread out into a single layer.

Roast the mushrooms for 15 minutes.

While the mushrooms are roasting, snap the bottom ends off of the asparagus stalks and cut the remainder of the stalks into 2-inch long pieces.

Start heating the water to cook the linguine according to package directions.

Turn the mushroom slices over and push to one side. Add the asparagus, turning to coat with the oil. Return the pan to the oven for 15 minutes. The mushrooms will be browned and the asparagus will be crisp-tender.

Add the linguine to the boiling water just after putting the asparagus into the oven so it will be ready just a few minutes before the asparagus and mushrooms come out of the oven, cooking according to package directions.

Drain the linguine well and toss with the roasted vegetables and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

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