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Fresh Fettuccine with Asparagus, Lemon, Pine Nuts & Mascarpone

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

Asparagus and bright lemon give a rich dish a fresh spin. Mascarpone cheese is an Italian cream cheese. It usually comes in a plastic tub and is available at most supermarkets.


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil; more for the pan
  • 2 lb. medium-thick asparagus, ends trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces on an angle
  • 8 scallions (whites and tender greens), cut in thin rounds
  • Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
  • Juice from 1 lemon (about 4 Tbs.)
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme or savory, leaves chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
  • Small pinch cayenne
  • Generous pinch ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup homemade breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb. fresh fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on four servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 1040
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 520
  • Fat (g): 57
  • Saturated Fat (g): 29
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16
  • Cholesterol (mg): 195
  • Sodium (mg): 770
  • Carbohydrates (g): 96
  • Fiber (g): 13
  • Protein (g): 39


  • Heat the oven to 450°F. Lightly coat a large, shallow baking dish with olive oil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and blanch until tender but with a slight bite left to it, about 2 minutes. Scoop it from the water with a large slotted spoon, set it in a colander, and run it under cold water to preserve its green color. Drain well. Keep the water boiling for the pasta.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions; sauté 1 minute to soften. Add the asparagus and sauté briefly, about 1 minute. Take the skillet off the heat and add half the zest, the lemon juice, thyme, salt, and pepper; mix well and reserve.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and flour over medium heat, whisking until smooth. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly, to cook away the raw taste of the flour. Add the milk and cook, whisking all the while, until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat a bit and cook until smooth and lightly thickened (about the consistency of heavy cream), 3 or 4 minutes.
    To make a béchamel, stir milk into a butter and flour roux.
  • Turn off the heat and add the mascarpone, the remaining lemon zest, and 1/2 cup of the Grana Padano, whisking until the mixture is fairly smooth (there will be a slight grainy texture from the cheese). Season with the cayenne, allspice, and more salt and pepper.
  • In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and the remaining Grana Padano. Season with salt and pepper and add a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well.
  • Return the cooking water to a full boil and cook the fettuccine, leaving it slightly underdone. Drain well. Return the fettuccine to the cooking pot. Add the mascarpone sauce, the pine nuts, and the asparagus with all its juices. Toss and taste for seasoning. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top. Bake uncovered until bubbling and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve right away.

Serve with a Classic Caesar Salad.


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Reviews (8 reviews)

  • divi2 | 08/13/2017

    This is my go to alfredo. I agree with the other reviewers about baking it. You have to add more liquid if you don't want it to be dry. What I normally do is make the sauce use dry pasta and cook it to completion then add the sauce. An instant meal that everyone asks for. I also, swap out the asparagus for grilled chicken slicing it into strips sometimes. I omit the bread crumbs when I make it this way.

  • grlup | 03/30/2015

    Loved the flavors of this but can only give it three stars because of the following reasons. First, as noted by other reviewers, it turned out dry. I used the amount of fresh pasta called for in the recipe. It was too much. I think if I make this again I will add the pasta in increments until I get to a good ratio of pasta to sauce. Second, this is prep intensive and makes a huge mess. But the flavor was good. I did add chopped garlic to the scallions & asparagus mixture. And I was generous with the fresh thyme.

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