Asparagus and Mushrooms In Tarragon Cream

Course : Asparagus
Serves: 6
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2 pounds asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
3/4 pound mushrooms -- thickly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper -- to taste
1 medium lemon -- cut in 6 wedges
12 ounces pasta

Preparation / Directions:

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus stalks and cut the asparagus at a slant into 3" lengths. Melt the butter in a large skillet; add the garlic and tarragon and stir to distribute. Add the asparagus and mushrooms, sprinkle with the salt; stir. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to distribute. Add the half and half and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to low. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Meanwhile, bring several quarts of water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain the pasta very well. Toss the pasta with the sauce in a warm serving bowl. Add the parmesan cheese and a few grinds of fresh black pepper and toss again. Serve immediately with the lemon wedges. Pass additional parmesan, if desired. Serving Ideas : Serve with steamed or glazed carrots.

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