1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces, tough ends discarded
Extra-virgin olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound smoked trout broken into bite-size pieces
1 tightly packed cup of mixed fresh herbs like dill, basil, tarragon, chives, mint and thyme (any combination will work), roughly chopped, plus 1/4 cup more for garnish
Grated zest of 1 large lemon, plus lemon juice as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring 6 quarts of heavily salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot.
Drop the pasta into the boiling water. Add the asparagus 1 minute before the pasta is done (check the box for timing). Once the pasta is tender but still has a little bite (al dente), scoop up 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Immediately drain the pasta and asparagus in a colander.
Return the empty pasta pot to the burner and reduce the heat to medium-low. Film the pot with olive oil and add the garlic, sautéing until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cooked pasta and asparagus and the cream, and toss until blended over the heat, about 10 seconds.
Add the smoked fish, 1 cup of the fresh herbs, and the grated zest and gently toss. Add small amounts of hot pasta water if more sauce is needed. Taste and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it.
Serve in individual bowls with a garnish of additional fresh herbs on top.