Thursday, March 17, 2011

Asparagus and Pasta

1) I did not make something St. Patrick's Day related (like colcannon) because I forgot it was coming up this week.

2) Recipes from the Penzeys catalog crack me up. They're written so fancifully and are not the most practical. Sorry.

3) This was really simple and really good but it reminded me a lot of the Pasta & Squash with Tomatoes, Basil and Pine Nuts I used to make all the time. But this one had asparagus, which was nice, and I liked the seared tomatoes. My balsamic expired last week so I used some white balsamic I had in the pantry (who knew?). I really liked this. I'm going to keep the recipe even though I'll probably never get back around to it.

4) I took this with my Blackberry so it's kind of weird shiny. Sorry again.


Asparagus and Pasta
Penzeys One

Elegant, yet quick and simple. There aren't many ingredients, so the key to this recipe is that they are all top-notch. Cherry tomatoes bursting with flavor, fresh olive oil, good Parmesan, very finely shredded, and excellent asparagus.

1 bunch firm fresh asparagus, ends removed
4-6 ounces dry pasta - your favorite (we used penne)
1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes (yellow and red, if possible)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 ounces fresh, finely shredded Parmesan (or Romano) cheese

Heat 1 quart of water for cooking the pasta. In a small separate pot, bring enough water to a boil to cook the asparagus. Halve the cherry or grape tomatoes. Heat a heavy fry pan on high. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Watch carefully - when done, drain without rinsing. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with garlic and basil crumbled through your fingers, toss with olive oil, and keep warm. Ideally, the draining and spicing of the pasta will occur during the asparagus cooking time. Place the asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes. After one minute, add the cherry tomatoes to the fry pan face down to sear them. After two minutes, pull the asparagus from the boiling water using a small strainer and add to the fry pan for one more minute. The bit of moisture on the asparagus should loosen the tomatoes so they aren't stuck to the pan. Add the balsamic vinegar. Swirl the pan, tossing to coat the vegetables, then remove from the pan. Toss the tomatoes with the pasta, and divide between two attractive plates. Top with asparagus spears. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Finally, top with freshly, finely grated Parmesan cheese like a light blanket of snow.

Servings: 2

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