Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

It has been over a year since my last post, but fear not! I am back…with an amazing new recipe! I hope everyone is doing well and that your holiday spirit is in full swing. As I type this, I am listening to my Vince Guaraldi Trio Holiday Radio station on Pandora.

When I found this recipe, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with the balsamic vinegar, but I ended up really loving it. You reduce the balsamic vinegar and mix in a bit of brown sugar  — it adds an incredible, but not overpowering, sweetness to this pasta. Also, anything with asparagus is good in my book!

– 1 lb asparagus
– 1 Tbs. olive oil
– 1 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. pepper
– 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
– 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
– 1 lb whole wheat penne
– 1/4 cup butter
– 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese



Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Snap the ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces. Spread out the asparagus onto a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast until tender (approximately 10 minutes).

Put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer and reduce until 3 tablespoons remain. Stir in brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Remove from the heat.

Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain the pasta and toss with butter, balsamic vinegar mixture, remaining salt, parmesan, and asparagus. Serve and sprinkle with additional parmesan.




Eggs Benedict with Asparagus

Last week for Mother’s Day, I was so lucky to have my mom come visit me in D.C. On Sunday, we went out and had brunch at KramerBooks in Dupont Circle. We both had a delicious plate of french toast, but then I saw the waitress walk by with someone else’s food — eggs benedict with prosciutto, asparagus, an english muffin and a creamy hollandaise sauce. Mmm! I have never even tried eggs benedict before, so I decided that was going to be my next kitchen mission. The only eggs I’ve ever had are scrambled, fried and hard-boiled…basically I’ve never had an egg where the yolk was moving around. So after making this, I must say — I’ve been missing out!

In my opinion, this is not really an ‘easy’ recipe. I wasted 2 eggs and really struggled with the hollandaise sauce. So I think that I need more practice, but in the end, it came together. Sorry for the lack of pictures during the process — it is very hard to poach an egg and take a picture at the same time.



-1 english muffin (cut in half and toasted)
-2 eggs
-salt & pepper
-cayenne pepper
-olive oil

Hollandaise Sauce Ingredients:

-1 stick of butter (melted)
-3 egg yolks
-1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
-1/2 Tbs. dijon mustard
-1 Tbs. cream
-pinch of cayenne pepper
-pinch of salt

I made the hollandaise sauce first and then let it sit while I did the rest. I think that my biggest mistake with making this could have been that I used a food processor to mix everything instead of doing it in a double-boiler. I think that a double boiler may have been the key to making the sauce thick and creamy. So here are my directions for making it in a food processor:

-Combine lemon juice, egg yolks, mustard, cream, cayenne pepper and salt in food processor on low.

-While the food processor is still on low, slowly add the melted butter in a steady stream.

Now, onto the rest.

-Toss asparagus lightly in olive oil and cook in a skillet until tender.

-Toast english muffin and lay a piece of prosciutto on top of each side. Lay english muffins over top of the bunch of asparagus.

-Boil a pot of water. To poach the eggs, crack the egg into a bowl (do only one at a time and be sure not to break the yolk when you crack the shell). When the water is boiling, take a wooden spoon and stir the water until a whirlpool starts. Drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool and then turn the stove down to low heat. The egg should only take about 3 minutes to cook. Remove egg from the pot (carefully!) and place on top of the prosciutto on the english muffin. Repeat again with the second egg.

-Once both eggs are done and placed on the prosciutto, pour the hollandaise sauce over the top and sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

I think I did a fairly good job for my first try…at least I liked it!!
Enjoy!  😀