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Baked Pasta with Asparagus
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3 quarts water
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into large pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock (see page 223 or 225)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 pound pasta - penne
12 ounces grated mozzarella cheese (approximately 3 cups)
3/4 vup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs (see page 230)
Serves 4 To 6
Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. In a large saute pan set on high heat, heat the olive oil until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, onion, peas and asparagus and cook until the garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the wind and boil until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the parsley, salt, pepper, vegetable or chicken stock and the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the past in tht boiling water for three-quarters fo the recommended cooking time (the pasta will finish cooking in the oven). Drain the pasta well and return to the pot. Pour the finished sauce over the pasta and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and spoon one-third of the pasta evenly over the bottom of the dish. Top with one-third of the mozzarella cheese, then one-third of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Repeat these layers 2 more times. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top and bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove the pasta from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Wine Suggestion - Cabernet Franc
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