Pasta shape does matter. In this scenario, rotini was used for pure nostalgia, but it’s also great for holding creamy sauces like the one in this Asparagus Boursin Pasta. When I was a kid, we asked for our favorite back of the box baked rotini recipe that we loving called “Tini.” It was ground beef and pepperoni baked with marinara and extra cheese, and it was my favorite. If you’ve been around this blog for long you may have heard me mention Tini. My parents used to have a supper club with the neighbors every Sunday night, and Tini was in the rotation along with that crazy long garlic bread from the freezer aisle. In this modern age of “busyness” where we take weeks to schedule a hangout with friends, they had a standing Sunday night dinner that was rarely if ever missed. I laud this incredible feat of neighborliness that our generation could never manage.
So I chose Rotini for my pasta shape, but if you have some attachment to penne, it’s all yours.
I had an “aha moment” a la Oprah while making this pasta. In an effort to dirty as few dishes as possible I decided to add the asparagus to the pasta at the last minute to cook them. This is why this is a Genius pasta. Boursin is underappreciated in the cheese world. It has the ability to elevate any ordinary dinner into a cheesy masterpiece. It’s my favorite simple trick to making a pasta dinner with some leftover ingredients. This super simple Asparagus Boursin Pasta has shallots, toasted walnuts, and a little extra parmesan for extra creaminess. For mine, I used Garlic and Fine Herbs Boursin but you can use any kind you like! Here’s how you make it.
Start by dicing your shallots and mincing the garlic. Then trim the ends off the asparagus and cut them into two inch pieces. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add your pasta. At the very end of the pasta cooking, you’ll add the asparagus to the pasta water, so be prepared. While you’re boiling your pasta, you can make your sauce. You’ll add some olive oil to a large deep sauce pan over medium heat and add your shallots, cooking until soft, about four minutes. Then add your garlic and cook another minute. And add your walnuts and then turn the heat to low.
Scoop out a cup and a half or so of pasta water and reserve. Add in your boursin to the pan with just a half cup of the pasta water and stir, breaking up until the boursin is creamy and melted. Add some salt and keep on low.
During the last minute of the pasta cooking, add the asparagus to the pasta pot. Let this boil for just one minute and drain the pasta and asparagus in a colander. Pour this immediately into the boursin sauce and stir to coat. Give it a couple grinds of pepper and add some pasta water if it’s too thick. Taste to see if it needs any salt. Then add the parmesan cheese and toss again to coat.
There you have it! An easy and flavorful weeknight dinner. See the full recipe below.
- 1 lb fusilli or other short pasta
- 1 lb asparagus
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots
- 1 garlic clove
- 5 oz boursin cheese (any kind)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- salt, to taste
- fresh ground pepper
- crushed red pepper for serving
- Trim the ends from the asparagus and cut the asparagus into two inch pieces. Dice the shallots, and mince the garlic clove.
- Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook for eight minutes, being aware that during the last minute of boiling you'll add the asparagus to the pasta water.
- While the pasta boils, in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil. Add the shallots and cook until softened. Once soft, add the garlic and cook one minute more. Add the walnuts and cook another minute or so.
- Reserve a cup and a half of pasta water. Add the boursin cheese to the pan with a half cup of pasta water and break up, letting it melt into a sauce. Add a couple grinds of black pepper and a couple pinches of salt. Turn the heat to low.
- During the last minute of the pasta cooking, add the asparagus to the pasta and cook one minute. Drain the pasta and asparagus into a colander and immediately pour the pasta mixture into the pan with the boursin. Toss to coat, adding a little remaining pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Add parmesan and toss again. Taste for salt.
- Serve immediately with more parmesan and crushed red pepper if desired.