Have you ever had a meal that you couldn’t wait to make? I was oddly excited to make this dish because it seemed so easy…and for once in my life, I actually had all of the ingredients in my cabinet.
I found this recipe via my beloved site, Pinterest, but upon perusing the ingredients, I realized that it called for 1 whole stick of BUTTER. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love butter just like every other human on the planet…however, after looking at the label and realizing that 1 stick of butter contains 800 CALORIES and (gulp) 88 GRAMS OF FAT, I couldn’t allow myself to use it. So, I cut the amount in half. And you know…it didn’t change it a bit, in my opinion. I also cut out the olive oil when roasting the vegetables and used a bit of cooking spray instead (olive oil cooking spray) - just enough to get the salt and pepper to stick.
So, here is a healthier, less artery clogging version of…
Pasta with Roasted Asparagus & Balsamic Butter
Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Fill a large sauce pan with water and heat it to boiling. Wash a pound of asparagus, chop off the weird ends of the asparagus and cut it into 1-inch pieces…
I used a little less than 1 lb because I officially had the largest asparagus of all time to work with. Next toss them on a roasting pan with oil, salt, and pepper. I also added mushrooms…because I’m crazy like that. Throw them in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Next, pour balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan (1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons more). Apparently, balsamic vinegar steams a lot when it’s heated…don’t be alarmed (I was, and it turned out ok)…
Next, place 1 lb of pasta in your boiling water. The recipe called for penne, but I didn’t have penne so I used a combo of what I had on hand (Mafalda and egg noodles).
I saw this neat trick on Pinterest the other day (I’m so addicted) that said if your pan starts boiling over, position a wooden spoon over the top and it will stop. So I thought I’d test it out when my pasta started to inevitably boil over.
And look…it worked!
It was magical… :)
Heat the balsamic until it reduces down to a little under 1/3 cup (or 3 Tablespoons). It will thicken and get syrupy. At that point, add 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and pour it into a large serving bowl.
Drain the pasta, and add that to the bowl, along with the veggies, half a stick of butter, and 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese. Yum yum…
Mix mix mix! I added a little bit of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray (I just poured a little out of the bottle) just to make the sauce more creamy, but I honestly don’t know that it was necessary.
Top with a bit more parmesan for garnish (there can NEVER be enough parmesan…words to live by, my friends).
If you find you need more of a creamy sauce, you could probably add a little cream or milk, but I thought it was JUST RIGHT!
This sauce was PHENOMENAL. The salty/creamy taste of the butter, mixed with the slight sweetness of the sugar and the tang of the balsamic sauce made it downright addicting. (Is it just me, or did I sound like Adam Richman from Man vs. Food just then?)
Test it out and let me know your thoughts. And be sure to give me feedback on what you did to replace the butter, if anything. Bon appetit!
1 pound asparagus
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 pound penne
1/2 stick of butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large saucepan with water and heat over high heat until boiling. Add pasta and boil until tender (about 10 to 12 minutes).
In the meantime, cut the ends off of the asparagus and chop into 1-inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Salt and pepper, toss to coat, and place in the oven on the middle rack for about 10 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender.
Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the vinegar has reduced to a little less than 1/4 of a cup (or 3 Tablespoons), stir in brown sugar and pepper. Remove from heat.
Pour balsamic glaze in a large serving bowl, and add butter, vegetables, drained pasta, and parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and allow the butter to melt completely. Serve with an additional sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top.