Demo Kitchen Recipe: Spaghetti with Garlic, Lemon and Asparagus

The Demo Kitchen realizes that we don’t give much love to the vegetarians out there, so we thought we would throw you a nonanimal-based bone by highlighting asparagus season with this quick and tasty pasta. This dish is super flexible so you can add a protein like shrimp or chicken, if you are so inclined, or add more veg (seasonal mushrooms are a welcome addition). You can even go full vegan by omitting the butter and cheese, but it’s a pretty dang good showcase for asparagus as is.

The lemony, herbal and veggie-centric nature of this vernal delight demands a crisp, zippy, dry white. Bone-dry Reisling, Sauvignon Blanc and even Hungarian Furmint all work well but our favorite asparagus wine is Austrian Grüner Veltliner. Grüner’s fresh, bright, and ultra-savory nature make it the absolutely perfect pairing.

Serves six as a pasta course or four as a main course.



  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti or linguine
  • reserved pasta water  
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 lb. asparagus; woody part of stem removed, thinly sliced on a bias, tips intact
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling at the table
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
  • Kosher salt to taste


  1. Place olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer over low heat. Cook about 15 minutes until garlic is very tender but not browned. 
  2. Meanwhile cook pasta in heavily salted water until just al dente. Reserve a couple of cups pasta water. 
  3. When the garlic oil is done, transfer a few tablespoons of oil to a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add asparagus, season with a little salt and sauté for about 1 minute. Add pepper flakes and lemon zest, cook 30 seconds. 
  4. Add the rest of the oil (garlic included) and al dente pasta immediately to the sauté pan followed by lemon juice, and reserved pasta water (start with 1/2 cup, add more if needed to make enough sauce to coat). Stir and toss vigorously until sauce boils and a creamy emulsified sauce forms. 
  5. Stir in butter, parmesan, and basil. Sauce should be creamy, emulsified and just enough to coat pasta and asparagus. 
  6. Season with salt if needed. Serve immediately. 


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