A medley of fresh spring asparagus, bright lemon, pine nuts and penne pasta come together for a salad that works well as a side or main.
Prepare penne according to package directions. Once cooked, toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and chill. Cut off 1 – 2 inches of the base of asparagus and discard. Slice asparagus into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Simmer in skillet with water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain asparagus and plunge into a bowl of ice water. This will help maintain the bright green color and stop the asparagus from cooking further. Toast pine nuts in oven until golden. In small bowl squeeze juice from lemon and grate the rind to create lemon zest. In large bowl whisk together lemon and rind, salt, pepper and remaining olive oil. Add asparagus, drained red pepper, pine nuts and pasta. Serve.