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One-Dish Ditali With Asparagus

A pasta dinner featuring ditali, the "little thimble" pasta. Ditali are hollow tubes about 1/3-inch long. Combine with asparagus cut into pieces about the same length, and sauce with butter and Parmesan right in the bowl. It's so mild and fun to eat, the author says, "children will love it."

21/2 pounds asparagus, preferably not too thin.
1 pound dried ditali or canneroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces, at room temperature
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Discard tough ends and cut spears into 1/3-inch slices, about the same length as the ditali. Line several spears up and cut across them to save time. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cover pot partially. When water returns to a boil, add ditali. Cook until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta and asparagus. Transfer to a large warm bowl. Add butter, cheese and salt and plenty of pepper. Toss to coat. Serve on warm dishes. Serves 4.

"Pasta Harvest" by Janet Fletcher

Thursday, March 18, 1999

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