penne with asparagus, arugula, walnuts, and blue cheese

I just keep going back to this recipe. This weekend I made it with whole wheat pasta and it didn't turn out as wondrous as I'd hoped. Still, I ain't mad at it. The recipe says to put shaved apple on the top, but I apparently forgot to transcribe that into my cook book, because I had no idea until posting it here. I'm finding out more and more that I'd make an awful secretary. I leave chunks out of recipes all the time. Some from when I was younger are even unusable. They have like three ingredients and then just trail off like I got distracted. Huh. Anyway, if you try the apple thing let me know.

penne with asparagus, arugula, walnuts, and blue cheese
(from Cook's Illustrated)

1 tablespoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 pound cavatappi (or penne)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound asparagus , bottom 1 inch trimmed and discarded, spears halved lengthwise if larger than 1/2 inch in diameter and cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup walnuts , chopped
4 cups arugula (lightly packed), washed and dried thoroughly (about 1 bunch)
6 ounces blue cheese , preferably Roquefort, crumbled
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1Granny Smith apple , peeled, for grating over pasta

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain and return to pot.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until beginning to smoke. Add asparagus, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, without stirring, until asparagus begins to brown, about 1 minute. Add walnuts and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until asparagus is tender-crisp and nuts are toasted, about 4 minutes; toss in arugula until wilted. Add asparagus mixture, cheese, vinegar, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil to pasta in stockpot; toss to combine. Serve immediately, grating apple over individual servings.

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