Giada's 30-Minute Pasta with Mushrooms and Asparagus — Meatless Monday

The usual standbys, like marinara and Alfredo sauces, may be go-to picks for dressing noodles, but there's nearly no limit to what you can use to create a new topping.

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Creamy Farfalle with Cremini, Asparagus and Walnuts

The beauty of pasta is that, like a pizza crust or a slice of bread, it's a culinary blank canvas just waiting to be dressed up with your choice of flavors. The usual standbys, like marinara and Alfredo sauces, may be go-to picks for topping noodles, but there's nearly no limit to the ingredients you can use to create a sauce all your own.

In her quick-fix recipe for Creamy Farfalle with Cremini, Asparagus and Walnuts (pictured above), Giada De Laurentiis reinvents the idea of a traditional cream-based sauce by using — believe it or not — no cream at all. She starts with a base of earthy mushrooms and in-season asparagus, then adds the noodles and the mascarpone cheese, which will not only hug the bow ties but also provide the richness and silky texture you know and love. Follow Giada's lead and keep some of the pasta water on hand; you may need it to thin the sauce as you combine it with the pasta. For a bit of welcome texture, add crunchy toasted walnuts to round out the dish before serving.

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

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