Fettuccine with crab and asparagus pairs pasta with vegetable noodles. (Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Fettuccine with crab and asparagus pairs pasta with vegetable noodles. (Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Asparagus and fettuccine canoodle in this elegant spring dish

Pasta and vegetable noodles are not the either-or proposition some would lead you to believe.

I was noodling vegetables using a knife and a peeler long before spiralizers came on the scene or pre-cut zoodles could be found in the grocery store, and I am thrilled that they are so popular now.

But while vegetable noodles can give you a pasta-like effect in many dishes, for me they will never take the place of actual pasta with its comforting al dente heartiness. Luckily, they don’t need to, because pasta and vegetable noodles are not the either-or proposition some would lead you to believe they are. They happen to work wonders together, as this sumptuous spring pasta dish so elegantly proves.

In it, asparagus stalks are shaved with a vegetable peeler into thin strips. The asparagus “noodles” and the trimmed spears are cooked until firm-tender in a lemon, garlic and white wine reduction. The saucy mixture is then tossed with crabmeat, tarragon, parsley and just-cooked whole-grain fettuccine or spaghetti. The final dish is fragrant with fresh herbs, has a light brightness from the citrus, is generously heaped with crab and studded with the green asparagus tips.

The asparagus noodles mingle seamlessly with the ribbons of pasta, amplifying the overall portion and filling your bowl while a relatively modest amount of pasta is used. Together, they make for a tremendously satisfying and healthfully balanced spring meal.

Fettuccine with crab and asparagus

1 bunch (about 12 ounces) thick asparagus

12 ounces dried whole-wheat fettuccine (may substitute dried whole-grain spaghetti)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup seafood stock

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

½ teaspoon salt, or more as needed

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound lump crabmeat, drained and picked over to remove any bits of cartilage

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

Cut off the asparagus tips (reserving them); then, using a sharp vegetable peeler, and holding each spear by its woody ends against a cutting board, peel the stalks into long, thin strips. Discard the woody ends.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.

Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the garlic to a large, deep skillet over medium heat; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the garlic is lightly golden, being careful not to let it burn.

Add the wine (be careful, it will sputter at first) and the stock; bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 5 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about half.

Add the asparagus tips and strips, the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Let the mixture start to bubble again, then cook for about 2 minutes, just until the asparagus is crisp-tender. Stir in the crabmeat and cook for about 1 minute, just long enough for it to warm through.

Add the asparagus-crab mixture to the cooked pasta in the pot, along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the tarragon and parsley. Toss gently to incorporate. Taste and season lightly with more salt, if needed.

Garnish with more parsley and serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Nutrition per serving: 470 calories, 21 grams protein, 45 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams fat, 3 gra,s saturated fat, 70 milligrams cholesterol, 590 milligrams sodium, 7 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams sugar.

Talk to us

More in Life

Life after ‘Hoarders’: 2 years, 250 tons lighter in Marysville

Andy and Becky Otter got a resurgence of fame when the A&E reality TV show was picked up by Netflix.

Arlington brewery celebrates Super Saturday, community benefits

In The Shadows Brewing in Arlington opens its taproom for fundraisers to benefit the Arlington Community Food Bank and other charities.

2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road gives lineup extra trail cred

The newest model to join Toyota’s compact SUV family builds on the existing RAV4 Adventure model.

Pandemic brings the Adventure-O-Meter to an all-time low

From near-misses with crow poop to scoring bleach at the pharmacy, this is what passes for excitement.

Unusually large flocks of swifts visiting Monroe this summer

Vaux’s swifts, which migrate in spring and fall, are roosting at the Wagner chimney after gorging on insects, a local expert says.

Wild Goose in British Columbia tops Cascadia judging again

It’s the third time in four years that the winery topped the annual showcase of Pacific Northwest wines.

Ice pops and cream pops make an easy, cool summer snack

You need only fruit juice, or iced tea, and whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand.

Celebrate Bastille Day with this delicious mussels dish

You’ll want a loaf of good French bread to soak up the delicious broth the mussels cook in.

Rick Steves’ memories of fado, the mournful blues of Lisbon

For an authentic experience, you have to seek out the city’s rustic neighborhoods after dark.

Most Read