Food and Wine: Asparagus and Balsamic Pasta

You know in Everybody Loves Raymond how Debra makes her infamous lemon chicken.. and that’s all she makes. Well Kenny jokingly referred that episode to this recipe. Not because that is the only thing I can cook, excuse me while I toot my own horn, but because this recipe is amazing and we always want to make it.

Asparagus and Balsamic Pasta


Even though asparagus is not in season, it doesn’t stop us from making this dish, you can even substitute the asparagus for broccoli. Recipe adapted from

What you will need:

1 pound fresh asparagus spears
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces (original recipe called for 4 tablespoons but I reduced it to 2 for a lighter dish)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and toss them with the olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ of the pepper. Roast them for about 10 minutes or until they are tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.


While you are roasting the asparagus, place the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. The vinegar will be reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat.


Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 11-13 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir the butter and vinegar mixture into the cooked pasta. Toss to combine well. Add in the asparagus, Parmesan cheese, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Toss it all together until it is mixed well and serve. 100_2165

Add more Parmesan cheese on top as desire and serve with a bottle of wine. Our selection of wine was Dave Matthew’s Dreaming Tree Cabernet, which we repeatedly quote the following line from the movie Just Go With It. ” Don’t pour over me! Don’t pour over me! I’ll bring my glass to you”. View the clip here if you don’t know what I’m talking about Ha!

100_2158100_2160The pasta also goes well with steak; Kenny’s expertise. 100_2168

And there you have it, an easy meal that is pretty amazing. Kenny and I recently made a pact: cut back on fast food and eat healthier, which means hopefully more cooking success stories and new recipes.

 Do you have a signature dish?

Keep your head held high.