Lemon Asparagus Pasta with Roasted Shrimp

You caught me in the midst of a red-hot spring fling.


Early each April, a long-time love returns to my life, and the two of us have a fleeting, fabulous affair. The object of my ardor : asparagus.

While I’m one of those veggie-loving weirdos who cherishes every edible in the jolly green garden (remember when I snuck beets into this fab chocolate cake?) asparagus wears the crown of my heart. I crave those crazy stalks.
Tragically for my asparagus-affection, asparagus has one of the shortest seasons of all vegetables. Brief April is asparagus prime time. Stalks explode with color and flavor—and frequently are placed on sale. Bonus! Best load up our carts and start cookin’.

In five days, I cooked six pounds of asparagus for Ben and me. Our favorite asparagus kitchen-baby so far: Lemon Asparagus Pasta with Roasted Shrimp. Say hello to a springtime bundle of joy!

Our bouncing Lemon Asparagus Pasta with Roasted Shrimp is dressed-for-success in a light, lemony, and easy healthy cream sauce. Forget the fussiness of traditional cream sauces, which require browning flour with butter as a base, then thickening with heavy cream. Instead, our easy cream sauce is a stealthy-healthy combo of skim milk and eggs. The eggs work as a thickening agent, adding body and extra protein to the sauce, without altering its taste. (This is not a breakfast-for-dinner situation, but let’s do that again soon!)

The cream sauce’s fresh flavor is grounded in zippy lemon zest, springy scallions, and a touch of garlic. We’re quick-cooking our asparagus in the same pot as our pasta (one less dish to wash—high five!), and our simple, oven-roasted shrimp is ready to toss with the sauce in less time than it takes me to find my misplaced cellphone in the morning (4-6 minutes).

{To make this dish vegetarian-friendly, simply omit the shrimp—it will still have oodles of substance and flavor.}
Lemon Asparagus Pasta with Roasted Shrimp is a super celebration of spring. Refreshing, packed with bright flavors, and a snap to prepare, healthy Lemon Asparagus Pasta with Roasted Shrimp will leave you more time to enjoy the sunshine and keep you feeling light on your twinkle toes.

Asparagus season is precious. Let’s party while it lasts with Lemon Asparagus Pasta with Roasted Shrimp.


  •  8 ounces raw shrimp — (fresh or frozen and thawed) peeled and deveined with tails removed
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  1 teaspoon kosher salt, — divided
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine — use brown rice pasta to make gluten free
  •  2 1/2 cups asparagus — (about 1.5 pounds) tough ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  •  1 tablespoon butter
  •  1/2 cup green onions, — thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  •  1 teaspoon minced garlic, — about 2 cloves
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, — about 1/2 lemon
  •  3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, — about 1 lemon
  •  3/4 cup non-fat milk
  •  2 large eggs
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill — (or 1 heaping tablespoon, fresh)
  •  1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place shrimp on a large baking sheet and toss with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper. Spread in a single layer and roast for 4-6 minutes, or until just pink and no longer opaque. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 9 minutes. Add asparagus and cook 2 additional minutes. Drain, toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.

  3. While the pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, lemon zest, and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add lemon juice and cook until liquid is almost evaporated.
  4. Whisk together the milk and eggs until very well combined. Remove skillet from heat. Slow pour in the milk-egg mixture, whisking continually. Return pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Stir in the dill, remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and nutmeg.
  5. Add pasta, asparagus, and shrimp to the sauce. Toss to coat. Cook additional 2 minutes, then serve immediately.