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Lemon Parmesan Fusilli with Asparagus and Spinach

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This is the perfect spring recipe since it takes advantage of one of the best seasonal vegetables: asparagus.

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Lemon Parmesan Fusilli with Asparagus and Spinach

Prep + Cook Time: 25 minutes, Makes 8 servings

16 oz. fusilli noodles (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed)

1 lb. asparagus

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. butter

1 tsp. minced garlic, (about 2 cloves)

6 – 9 oz. baby spinach

1/4 – 1/2 lemon, juice only, 1 – 2 Tbsp., to taste

1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

1/8 tsp. black pepper, or to taste

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Meanwhile, break off the tough ends of the asparagus and cut the spears into 1-inch pieces.

When the noodles go into the boiling water, heat the oil and butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, stir in the garlic then immediately add the asparagus, stirring to coat it. Sauté the asparagus, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes until it is tender-crisp. Stir in the spinach and lemon juice, cover, and steam it for about 2 minutes, then uncover it and cook it, stirring frequently, for about 2 more minutes until the spinach is completely wilted. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.

Drain the noodles, combine them with the asparagus and spinach, and stir in the Parmesan cheese until it melts. Serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 2 days.

Do Ahead or Delegate: Cook the pasta and store tossed with a little oil to prevent sticking, trim and cut the asparagus, peel the garlic, juice the lemon, grate the cheese if necessary and refrigerate, or fully prepare and refrigerate the dish.

Scramble Flavor Booster: Add 1/2 tsp. lemon zest and/or 2 – 4 Tbsp. pesto sauce. Sauté 2 tsp. capers with the asparagus, if desired.

Tip: We all know from Popeye that spinach is good for your body, but recent research shows it’s also good for your mood!  This leafy green is full of folate, which the brain uses to produce mood-regulating chemicals.  The American Psychiatric Association has determined that folate may help with the treatment of depression.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 290, Total Fat: 7g, 11%; Saturated Fat: 3g, 13%; Cholesterol: 10mg, 3%; Sodium: 105mg, 4%; Total Carbohydrate: 45g, 15%; Dietary Fiber: 4g, 16%; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 11g

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