1/3cupParmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons grated, divided
1tablespoonschives, minced, optional
1tablespoonsmint, minced, optional
a third lemon, optional
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Remove the tougher ends of the asparagus by holding each end of the stalk and bending. The asparagus spear will break naturally where the toughness ends.
Place the asparagus stalks in a baking pan large enough to hold them in one layer, and gently rub them with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt over the asparagus and bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the stalks. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a generous amount of salted boiling water, cook the fettuccine until al dente (not quite soft). Drain, place in a bowl and toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
Pour the wine into a large skillet or pan. Add the shallots. Cook over medium heat until the wine is reduced to one half the volume. Wash the lemons, rinse and dry. Add grated rind and juice from 2 lemons to the wine. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the cream. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and add 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the cayenne pepper. Simmer slowly, whisking constantly, about 4 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken.
Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the sauce, cooking it for about 1 minute. Add the asparagus, pasta and 2 tablespoons of cheese. Toss until the pasta is thoroughly coated with the sauce and heated through.