Thursday, January 19, 2012

adventures in cooking: penne with roasted asparagus and balsamic butter

I hate balsamic vinegar.

The taste, the smell...everything. However, I recently learned that it is much tastier once reduced, therefore, this recipe looked promising and I'm always looking to expand my pasta recipes.

This one turned out to be quite delicious! It was just as good as leftovers too! I originally pinned this recipe on Pinterest from Food & Wine. Other than being lazy with my measurements, I stayed pretty true to it.*

I have only two minor complaints. First, the pasta to asparagus ratio was extremely low. If this were intended as a side dish; that's one thing, but as a main (vegetarian) dish I think 2 lbs. of asparagus would have been more fulfilling. My second complaint is a little nit picky...this recipe produces an annoyingly large amount of dishes between the roasting of the asparagus, the simmering of the vinegar and then the pasta. It was a daunting pile.

Anyway, luckily it was worth it and it was delicious and I will be breaking this recipe out again!

The Recipe:

1 pound asparagus (or 2!)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 pound penne
1/4 pound butter,** cut into pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and then cut them into one inch pieces. Put them on a baking sheet and toss them with the oil then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, simmer the vinegar in a small saucepan until about 2 tablespoons remain. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Remove from heat.

3. Cook the penne as directed. Drain the pasta then toss with the butter, vinegar, asparagus, Parmesan and the remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt. Serve topped with more Parmesan cheese.

*I lied. Keep reading...
**As I was copying this recipe I realized that I originally read this as 1/4 CUP of butter and freaked out for a moment. Luckily I faulted on the side of less instead of more AND I only ended up adding about 4 T of it anyway. Phew!

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