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!
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Ingredients:
– 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

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Directions:

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.

ENJOY!

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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.

EGGS BENEDICT WITH ASPARAGUS

Ingredients

-1 english muffin (cut in half and toasted)
-asparagus
-2 eggs
-prosciutto
-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

Directions:
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!  😀