This springy pasta harnesses lamb’s flavorful fat to toast walnuts, crisp asparagus, and gloss pasta. Stirring feta through the warm pasta gives you soft puddles of salty cheese to stumble upon here and there. For more brightness, you could finish the dish with soft herbs, such as basil, mint, or dill. And when asparagus isn’t in season, use frozen peas (no need to thaw first), chopped dark leafy greens like kale or spinach, corn kernels, or halved cherry tomatoes. Find a printable PDF version of the recipe HERE.
Lamb Pasta with Asparagus & Feta
- Salt and pepper
- 12 ounces to 1 pound short pasta, such as mezze rigatoni or orecchiette
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound North 44 Farm ground lamb
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced ½-inch thick
- 4 ounces feta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the ground lamb, then use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to press the meat into a thin layer. Cook undisturbed until deeply browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the garlic, then break up the meat into bite-size pieces and stir until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the lamb to a bowl, leaving the juices and fat in the skillet.
Add the walnuts and stir over medium until fragrant and golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and stir until bright green and crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and crumble in the feta, holding back a little for garnish. Stir until the cheese starts to melt.
Add the lamb, pasta and ¼ cup pasta water to the skillet. Cook and stir over medium-low until the pasta is well coated. Add dribbles of pasta water as needed until the sauce glosses the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then eat with the remaining feta crumbled on top.