Pasta with Asparagus, Cannellini Beans, and Porcini Cream

by on March 27, 2008
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One of the things I love most about this time of year, besides the flowers and the birds and not having to wear a jacket all the time, is that fresh asparagus is actually affordable. When the price drops below $2.00, I start buying two or three bunches at a time and eating it almost every day. It’s one of those vegetables I consider luxury foods, and it fits easily into just about any type of meal. Making a stir-fry? Throw it in. Need a side dish? Roast some up. Quickie pasta? Roast it, stir-fry it, or steam it and toss with noodles for an elegant meal that doesn’t require you to spend all night in the kitchen.

And that’s basically what I’ve done here. This sumptuous recipe makes use of seasonal asparagus as well as one of my year-round staples, dried porcini mushrooms. They’re great for adding a deep woodsy flavor to sauces, soups, and stews, and I particularly like the contrast of the fresh, green asparagus with the earthy mushrooms. Adding the porcini soaking water to the dish amps up the mushroom flavor, but be sure to strain it first; I’ve had dishes come out with sandy grit when the porcini juice hasn’t been filtered–not a pleasant mouth-feel!

Pasta with Asparagus, Cannellini Beans, and Porcini Cream

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tokyovegan October 1, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Hi, Susan.
We just bought a ton of porcini mushrooms and are dying to make your porcini creme sauce to use on some pumpkin gnocchi. It appears that the porcini themselves are not used (although they are chopped), or do you put them on top at the end with the asparagus?


2 SusanV October 2, 2010 at 12:58 am

Oh no! No one’s ever pointed that out, so thank you for catching it. It’s been a while since I made this, but what I would do now is add the mushrooms at the same time as the beans. I hope you’ll let me know how it comes out if you try it.


3 julie March 28, 2013 at 10:37 am

I’m totally making this on the weekend! 🙂


4 jp March 28, 2013 at 11:30 am

Soy is not my friend, any suggestions for tofu substitutes?


5 Susan Voisin March 28, 2013 at 11:34 am

A couple: you can use the same amount of white beans instead of tofu and blend them with 1/2 cup of any non-dairy milk. And if you don’t mind the fat, you can use cashews instead of tofu. Or you could use a combination of both.


6 Terry Ingram March 28, 2013 at 11:39 am

I had been looking all week for a special recipe to make for an Easter Potluck. I wanted to use asparagus also as I love them too and they always make our Easter table special! This dish with the porcini sauce will be PERFECTION!


7 Brenda March 28, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Susan–This looks great….I don’t have porcinis but I do have shirtake mushrooms….those would work, right?


8 Susan Voisin March 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm

The flavor is different, but they will work. I find shiitakis stronger than porcini, so maybe you should use a little less.


9 JoycieB March 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Funny thing my daughter said to me today while out in a “vegan” restaurant for lunch. She said she thought vegan restaurants seem to be “trying to hard” and that cooking a vegan meal shouldn’t be about TVP and seitan and other processed fake foods. She said she likes plenty of the dished that I make, (mostly from your recipes, Susan), and why can’t the vegan restaurants just make simple dishes with real food. So kudos to you again, because my daughter, who is not following a vegan diet, is impressed with your recipes, as am I! Wishing we will see more eateries catch on, but until there are enough people that want to eat this way, I guess we will have to do it ourselves! Thanks for sharing your ideas all the time!


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