Spring Lemon Chive Pasta with Asparagus

May 8, 2024

There are three certain heralds of spring here in my garden: rhubarb, chives and asparagus. Once the ruby red stalks of rhubarb, grass-like spears of chives, and purple and green tips of asparagus start poking through the soil, I can rejoice. The long, grey winter is over and spring has arrived.

After a season of cold and mud, there is nothing more welcoming than a clump of fresh chives. A choice edible herb, chives are the only Allium native to both the Old and New World. Here in Maine, chives grow as a perennial, and self-seed themselves wildly throughout the garden.

Asparagus have been cultivated for thousands of years. In France, the elegant and slender spears were grown in greenhouses, and enjoyed by royalty. An important homestead and perennial crop, the asparagus plant, which is actually one of the lily family’s cultivated forms, traveled to North America in 1655.

Besides great taste, there’s more to love about asparagus. Eaten raw or lightly cooked, they are an important source of fiber, folate, iron, and Vitamins A and C. Local, fresh asparagus and chives are just beginning to arrive in the markets.

The recipe for Spring Lemon Chive Pasta with Asparagus is adapted from a 1987 Gourmet magazine. This sophisticated, beautiful and delicious dish is perfect for a special brunch or luncheon, or as part of festive supper. Although seemingly complicated, the recipe is quite easy to prepare at the last minute.

The key is “mise en place”, the French culinary phrase that literally means, “putting in place.” The setup often used in professional kitchens, “mise en place” refers to organizing and preparing the ingredients for the execution of the dish before actually starting.

In this recipe, the pasta and asparagus are lightly cooked and cooled. The sauce components are prepared in advance, and the serving plates or platters are warmed. Execution or final preparation takes just a few minutes before your delightful dish is ready to serve.

Of all the meals I’ve enjoyed for Mother’s Day, the ones my family made meant the most and were by far my favorite. This year, eat local! Treat Mom like royalty with this very special dish; Spring Lemon Chive Pasta with Asparagus.

Spring Lemon Chive Pasta with Asparagus

Cheryl Wixson
Adapted from a 1987 Gourmet magazine
Calories 337 kcal


  • 6 ounces Fettuccine
  • 1/2 pound Asparagus
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup Snipped Fresh Chives
  • 1 tbsp Grated Lemon Zest
  • Maine Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper
  • 4 This Lemon Slices for Garnish


  • Assemble ingredients and tools.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Heat four plates or a serving platter in a 200 -degree oven.
  • Trim the ends of the asparagus, and if desired, peel them. Cut into ½ inch slices and set aside.
  • Snip the chives into pieces and set aside.
  • Grate the Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  • Grate the lemon and set the zest aside. Thinly slice four pieces of lemon and set aside.
  • Separate the eggs, reserve the yolks, and refrigerate the whites for use another time.
  • Cook the asparagus pieces in the boiling water until just tender. Remove from the pot and cool in a bowl of iced water. Drain and set aside
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until just tender or al dente.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the egg yolks and heavy cream to a small bowl and whisk together.
  • Drain the pasta and cool in a bowl of iced water. Drain again and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the cooked pasta and asparagus and cook until heated through, stirring gently. Remove the pan from heat.
  • Add the egg mixture and grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Return the pan to the low heat, and cook, stirring, until the Parmesan is melted. Stir in the chives and lemon zest
  • Season to taste with Maine sea salt and fresh pepper. Divide the pasta between the plates or turn out onto the platter. Garnish with chopped chives and lemon slices.


Serving: 4gCalories: 337kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 11.6gFat: 17gSodium: 195mgFiber: 3g

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