Little should need to be said about this plate except that the length of the name is matched by the ease of the dish's preparation and by the breadth and delight of the flavors. And if asparagus in season is not incentive enough, the mushroom yogurt sauce is simply too good to be believed. After you've tasted it, you'll be tempted to make another batch just to spoon up on its own.
Farfalle pasta with cannellini beans and asparagus in a white mushroom yogurt sauce
1/2 cup dried cannellini or white kidney beans
1 cup water
2 cups vegetable stock
12 ounces farfalle or bowtie pasta
1 pound fresh asparagus, ends snapped off and cut into 2-inch pieces
White mushroom yogurt sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced
8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, or a mix of both
3/4 cup plain whole-fat yogurt, whisked until smooth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid from the beans
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, trimmed and minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
fresh ground black pepper
Soak the beans overnight in a small saucepan covered in 2 inches of water. Drain, and cover again with 1 cup of water and 2 cups of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are soft but not falling apart. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid for the mushroom sauce.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. Toss in the shallots and cook for 2 minutes to soften. Stir in the mushrooms, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are reduced but still slightly plump.
Remove the lid and stir in the yogurt, white wine, 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid from the beans, lemon juice and mustard. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce without boiling, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes until the sauce thickens. — or longer if you want a thicker sauce. If the sauce thickens too much, add a tablespoon or two of the reserved cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook for 9-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired softness. While the pasta is cooking, steam the asparagus until just tender, about 5 minutes or less depending on the thickness of the stalks.
Drain the pasta and distribute between 4 pasta plates. Stir the parsley into the mushroom sauce and season with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Ladle the sauce between the plates and dress each serving with the cannellini beans and asparagus.
This is my contribution to Presto Pasta Night, a popular food event started by Ruth and guest hosted this week by Kevin of Closet Cooking.