Spring Fling Class 4-22-2010

PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS-LEMON SAUCE                                        Serves 4

Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis

1lb fresh asparagus (tough ends trimmed)

2 T sea salt

1 t finely grated fresh lemon zest

¼ c extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb penne pasta (mafalde, broad rippled noodles similar to lasagna also work well)

½ c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces, reserving tips separately.  Cook asparagus stems in 5-6 quarts boiling water with 2 T sea salt, until very tender, 6-8 minutes.  Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander, reserving cooking water in pot, and rinse under cold water.  Drain asparagus well and transfer to a food processor or blender. 

Cook asparagus tips in same boiling water until just tender 3-5 minutes.  Transfer with slotted spoon to colander, reserving cooking water in pot.  Rinse tips in cold water and drain well.  Set aside.

Puree asparagus stems with zest, oil, and ½ c asparagus cooking water.  Set aside.

Cook pasta in boiling asparagus cooking water until it still offers considerable resistance to the tooth, around ¾ of the recommended cooking time.  Reserve 2 cups cooking water and drain pasta.

Put pasta back in pan, add ½ c reserved water to asparagus sauce and stir into pasta.  Cook over medium high heat stirring 3-5 minutes or until pasta is almost al dente and sauce coats evenly.  Add asparagus tips and cooking water ¼ c at a time until sauce coats pasta but is a little loose ( the cheese will thicken it slightly). 

Stir in Parmigano-Reggiano and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.

NOTE:  Canned or frozen artichoke hearts can be used as a substitute when asparagus is not in season.


Serves 4

Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis




1 bunch fresh arugula

12 strawberries, cut in half

4 oz goat cheese




1c chopped fresh rhubarb

1 ¼ c chopped fresh strawberries

3 shallots, coarsely chopped

1T sugar

1/3 red wine vinegar

¾ c canola oil or a combination of canola and olive oil

¼ t Dijon mustard

Sea salt to taste

Simmer dressing ingredients except oil and mustard in a small non-reactive pan until tender, about 10 minutes.

Puree and strain into a small bowl and cool.  Whisk in mustard, salt and oil.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Can be made a day ahead.

Place greens and strawberries (leaving out 4 halves) in a large bowl.  Toss with enough dressing to coat.

Portion onto salad plates and garnish with a bit of goat cheese on each .  Place a strawberry half on top of the cheese for color.


Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis


For the Biscuits:

2c all-purpose flour

¼ c granulated sugar

2T baking powder

1 pinch salt

Grated zest of 1 lemon

6T cold butter, diced

¾ c whole milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine 2c of the flour, the sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a medium bowl.  Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal.

Gradually stir in enough milk for the dough to form a ball.  Be careful not to overwork the dough as the biscuits will be tough.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured board to ¾-inch thickness and cut out 8 rounds with a 2 ½ inch biscuit cutter or cookie cutter. 

Place the biscuits on a baking sheet at least 1 inch apart and bake until golden, 12-15 minutes.

For the Berries:

2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced or diced

¼ c granulated sugar

2T Grand Marnier

Leaves from 1 sprig of mint, minced

Toss berries with remaining ingredients and allow to marinate, covered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.

For the Cream:


1 pint of heavy whipping cream

Seeds from 1 vanilla bean or ¼ t pure vanilla extract

1-2T granulated sugar or to taste

Mix all ingredients together and whip until cream is thick and at desired consistency



1c or more of Grand Marnier in a shallow bowl.

Mint leaves for garnish


Line up 8 dessert plates. Cut biscuits in half crosswise.  Being very light to the touch, quickly dip the cut side of the bottom half of the biscuit in the Grand Marnier and place cut side up onto the plate.  Spoon a portion of the strawberries on each biscuit half, using about half of the fruit.  Repeat the biscuit dipping process for top half and place cut side down onto the strawberries. Spoon the remainder of berries on top of each biscuit.  Add a dollop of whipped cream to each serving.

Garnish with mint leaves.




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