Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

Well, I am still having a bit of a tough time with cooking during this pregnancy. I've been living on cereal, fruit, and salads with no meat. Chicken=yuck! My poor, poor husband has been living a vegetarian life at home, which is why we've been eating out a lot. (The waitress comes to our table and Hubby practically screams, "Steak or a burger! Steak or a burger, for the love of God!")

He's been a good sport about it all and doesn't complain too much at home, especially since pregnancy is a lot harder for me than it is for him. I've been feeling okay, but have been having a really hard time sleeping at night. I'm a stomach sleeper, so I constantly wake up when I'm on my side. Exhaustion is all par for the course in pregnancy and babies though, right?

Fortunately, yesterday I had enough energy to attempt this recipe. Although 20 minutes from prep to table isn't exactly time-consuming or difficult, it was a far cry from the black bean burritos and grilled cheese sandwiches I had been serving for dinner. Nick was even okay with the fact that there was no meat in this dish, which turned out to be absolutely delicious. The asparagus was perfectly roasted, the penne was al dente, and the balsamic butter sauce was heavenly. It was also a great dish for Hubby to take to work since it could be eaten hot or cold. It's not always easy to get to a microwave when you're out arresting bad guys, after all!

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter
*From Food and Wine

1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, divided (I only used 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 pound penne
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut in pieces
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Heat the oven to 400ยบ. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces. Place asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Turn off the oven, leaving the asparagus in to keep it warm.

Meanwhile, put the vinegar into a small saucepan. Simmer until 3 tablespoons remains. Stir in the brown sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and remove from heat.

Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and toss with butter, vinegar, asparagus, parmesan, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle additional parmesan on top and serve. Enjoy!

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