4 ounces fettuccine
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut on the bias 2-inches long (3 to 4 pieces per stalk)
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, for 2 tablespoons juice and 2 tablespoons zest
4 tablespoons pecorino Romano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (one lemon)
4 ounces lox or any other cooked salmon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons fresh ricotta cheese
Salt and white pepper to taste
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until almost tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the fettuccine doesn't stick to one another, about 6 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until pasta is tender al dente (firm to the bite), about 3 minutes longer. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
While the pasta cooks start the sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon of butter, heavy cream, lemon zest and minced garlic. The garlic is only there for flavor do not expect it to turn colors; because it is added to the butter and cream it will stay white. Cook over medium high heat until it comes to a simmer; reduce heat to low.
When pasta is done: Whisk 2 tablespoons Romano cheese into the sauce and continue cooking until sauce is smooth and thickens slightly, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
Add the sauce to the pasta and asparagus and toss to coat with tongs. Add the remaining butter and Romano cheese, and lemon juice; toss again to coat. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Divide the pasta between two plates. Twirl the pasta as you plate it so it stands high. Add the salmon to the pasta and a dollop of ricotta cheese on top, sprinkle with a bit more zest and Romano cheese and chives.
Chef Lucia Biscaglio, Piatti Pronti, Arlington Heights