i despise asparagus. des.pise. and i know many people out there love it. but it comes in a close second to brussels sprouts in the category "green things that ruffle my feathers". (and yes, i know some crazy people who love brussels sprouts. to those people i say: i seriously doubt your american citizenship). but growing up in my house we had few sprouts and lots of spears of asparagus. at the age of ten i struck a deal with my parents, a deal which is still in place to this day. it's basically my treaty of versailles if you'll allow me that grossly exaggerated metaphor. and the deal is this:
when asparagus is served at the dinner table,
colleen is to eat three,
and only three spears of asparagus.
no more. no less.
no guilt trips.
to this day my mother "forgets" when i come home to visit, makes asparagus and has the gall, the absolute gall, to say "i thought you loved asparagus?!" i have promptly told her that she better watch it or i'll put her in a home that is not ranked favorably with the better business bureau.
just joshin'! (maybe.)
which leads me to this recipe. it sounded so, so delicious. but roasted asparagus with my pasta? no thank you. until i read the footnote - you can substitute broccoli - my favorite of all the vegetables! i was thrilled. and so i present penne with roasted broccoli and balsamic butter. it's kind of healthy but it does use a whole stick of butter so...i don't know. but it is delicious.
what i like about this recipe is that all of these ingredients are pretty much staples, except the broccoli. just pick some up at the store during the week though, and you're set. i first put my broccoli in the oven at 400 degrees with some salt, pepper and olive oil and didn't have to think about it for a bit.
next, i reduced my balsamic as the recipe instructs while my water boiled. i would recommend *not* doing this. it reduced quickly and even after you take if off the heat it continues to do so and thicken into a syrup. i would say that once your pasta is cooking, start reducing the balsamic so it's timed better.
so reduce the vinegar and then add in a bit of brown sugar and pepper as the recipe instructs. and when the pasta is done cooking mix it all up, along with some shredded parm and the butter.
if you must know, it is delicious paired with a glass of a light red wine. i figured you'd want that piece of information.