Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

I could go on and on about how much I love pasta. And since I’m half Italian, its technically in my blood.  (I mean, it would really be like slapping my ancestors in the face if I didn’t love it, right?)


Pasta appeals to the other half of me for its versatility. Not only do the noodles vary in size, shape and texture, but pasta can be paired with endless combinations of vegetables, herbs, and sauces. And since this balsamic syrup thing is going strong, this recipe peaked my interest as soon as I read the title.


It’s so simple to make, you really don’t have an excuse to open that can of marinara sauce in the fridge. You could certainly forgo the balsamic butter altogether and just toss the pasta with vegetables and olive oil, but this little bit of decadence will really wake up Wednesday night dinner.


*Today is my 3-year wedding anniversary! And we're getting out of town...look for more posts next week.

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine


1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 pound penne
3 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


1.  Heat the oven to 400°. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer until 3 tablespoons remain. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat. Stir in butter until melted and mixture is smooth.

3. Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just done, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the balsamic sauce, vinegar, asparagus, Parmesan, and the remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt. Serve with additional Parmesan.