I love summer for the sheer abundance and variety of produce available from the earth. And the silly season is also asparagus time. Who can resist this wonderful tender spear of goodness? By the way, asparagus is also very alkaline and in ancient times regarded as an aphrodisiac. I am sure if you were to google or wiki it, you’d find the story behind the lore.
Asparagus has the most exquisite taste, in my opinion, and yet very subtle. Some like to barely steam it to retain most of its unique flavour and it doesn’t need much dressing to bowl you over with its taste, especially if they are young and fresh. But if you have a day or two or three days old asparagus, try baking them and toss them in penne with balsamic vinegar.
I came across this dish while travelling in the US, in Galveston to be precise. It is easy and quick to prepared and plate licking good:
- 2 bunches of asparagus, cut into 2.5 cm length
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- A pinch of salt
- A good round of freshly ground pepper
Place the cut asparagus on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 8 minutes in the oven at 200° C, remove and put aside.
- A packet of penne or fusilli, 500 gram, cooked according to instruction on the packet
For the “sauce”:
- 3 tablespoons raw brown sugar
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- A pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and keep cooking slowly until the liquid is reduced to a fourth. It will be very thick, almost syrupy in consistency.
To assemble the dish, mix the pasta, baked asparagus and the balsamic sauce in a large bowl, serve unto individual plate with a generous helping of shaved parmesan.
Happy trying and feasting ….