Buttery Balsamic Pasta and Asparagus
I love asparagus. I adore roasted asparagus! Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables, making them irresistible (even to a picky toddler). Cooking balsamic vinegar causes it to mellow and sweeten as well, making this a delicately flavored dish. Don’t be afraid of the butter folks. If you’re on the real food bandwagon, you know that it is considered a healthy fat, especially if it is from organic, pasture-fed animals. Add some crunchy pine nuts and chicken for protein and you have the perfect all-in-one springtime dish. No sides, no fuss, no extra mess. Welcome spring!
Buttery Balsamic Pasta with Asparagus
Kim @ onceamonthmeals.com
- 3.5 cups fresh asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- .5 teaspoons pepper, divided
- .5 cups balsamic vinegar, plus 2 tablespoons
- .5 teaspoons brown sugar (or sucanat)
- 1 pound penne (or similarly shaped pasta)
- .5 cups butter, cut into pieces
- .33 cups grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
- 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
- .33 cups pine nuts, toasted
Remove tough ends from asparagus and cut spears into 1 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, cook penne al dente according to package directions and set aside. While pasta cooks, cook vinegar down in a small sauce pan until only about 1/4 of original amount remains. Stir in brown sugar and pepper. Remove from heat. Toss drained pasta with butter, Parmesan, vinegar mixture, asparagus, chicken, pine nuts, and salt. Serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
To freeze, follow directions above EXCEPT skip roasting of asparagus. After tossing pasta with sauce, chicken, and nuts, divide among freezer bags. TO SERVE: Thaw and reheat pasta while roasting asparagus as directed above. Combine roasted asparagus and pasta mixture and serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
**conversion chart image provided by Erik Spiekermann
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