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Challenge: Savoring Spring

Creamy Asparagus Pasta with Garlic Breadcrumbs

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Delicate asparagus sautéed in white wine and garlic, then tossed with linguine, creme fraiche, lemon, and fresh herbs. Sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs for a nice pop of texture. Divine.

Creamy Asparagus Pasta with Garlic Breadcrumbs

  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 slices hearty sourdough sandwich bread (OR ½ cup bread crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches thin asparagus, tips cut off and reserved, stalks cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 lb dried linguine pasta
  • 1 ¼ cup creme fraiche (or ¾ cup sour cream + ½ cup heavy cream)
  • 3 tablespoons snipped chives
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced lemon verbena (or tarragon)
  • zest of ½ large lemon
  • ⅔ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ tablespoon flaky sea salt (less, maybe ¾ teaspoon, if you are using regular salt)
  • ½ tablespoon ground black pepper


  1. Rip up the bread and place it in a mini food processor. Pulse until the bread is a fine crumb. (Skip this step if you are using pre-made or store bought bread crumbs).
  2. Place 2 tablespoons butter or oil in a small skillet and warm over medium heat. Once melted, add 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (or ½ cup if you are using packaged bread crumbs) to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread crumbs are golden and crisp. Turn off the heat and stir in the garlic powder and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set aside for later.
  3. Add 6 tablespoons (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) of oil to a large deep skillet and warm over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to turn golden, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add the asparagus stalks (NOT the tips), garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 or 2 minutes until bright green & not quite yet tender. Add the wine and vinegar & cook until evaporated, a few minutes longer. Add the asparagus tips & cook for just a minute or so, until bright green & crisp tender. Turn off the heat and set pan aside for later.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the linguine. Cook according to package directions until al dente. RESERVE ½ cup pasta water, then drain and add the pasta to the pan with the asparagus. Stir in the creme fraiche, chives, parsley, lemon verbena, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Toss until well combined, adding reserved pasta water as needed to thin into a creamy sauce. Sprinkle with the garlic breadcrumbs and serve immediately.

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