This quick and easy pasta features the light, fresh taste of asparagus, brightened by the addition of lemon zest at the final stage of cooking. To ensure even cooking, try to use asparagus spears that are about the same thickness; otherwise, cut thicker pieces in half lengthwise. This recipe also works well with broccolini or broccoli.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add the salt and the linguine and cook for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking until both the pasta and asparagus are tender, about 7 minutes more.
Meanwhile, place the olive oil, anchovies, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Transfer the cooked linguine and asparagus to the skillet (tongs work well for this step). Turn the heat to medium-high and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, using the tongs to combine the ingredients gently. By adding the pasta to the skillet and cooking it for a few minutes, the linguine and asparagus get infused with the aromatic oil mixture. If the pasta seems dry, add 1/2 cup of the hot pasta cooking water and cook another minute. Stir in the cheese and lemon zest and mix completely. Divide the linguine between 2 heated plates and serve immediately.