Monday, April 28, 2014

Penne with Asparagus and Fresh Tomatoes

How was your weekend?
Mine started with a busy and extremely fun Saturday: my boys' soccer games in the morning (always entertaining and exciting!); cooking a yummy vegetarian lasagna to bring to a potluck dinner party; and then, the party at my neighbors' house. The dinner was so much fun, and I got the chance to meet some really nice families from my neighborhood, that I hadn't met before.
Thank you Heather for the amazing evening! And as I promised, I will share the lasagna recipe ... but not today.
Today, I am going to show you what I prepared on Sunday morning, for my family picnic at the beach. As you might know by now, I love laying on the sand, relaxing and reading, while my three guys run around and play... and yes, sometimes I do join in the games too! The best part for me though, is when we all sit together on the blanket, and enjoy a healthy meal, looking out for dolphins and listening to the soothing sound of the waves.
I have several ideas for picnics or potlucks. Here is an easy and super healthy pasta with asparagus and fresh tomatoes. As most of my recipes, this is quick and requires only few, simple ingredients. And as in all of these recipes, it's important to have good quality products. Asparagus are normally always tasty, no matter where I buy them. But the tomatoes are different: many times they have no flavor at all. So please, make sure that you find savory tomatoes. This will make your pasta not only good, but delicious!
Note: I always cook a little extra that I will refrigerate, and give to the kids for lunch on Monday. No need to warm it up! Perfect, right?

Here are the details:


  • one bunch of asparagus, about 14 oz
  • 14 oz of tomatoes on the vine
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 3-4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz of penne, or other short pasta
  • salt 

Preparation time: 30 minutes


Step 1: Bring to boil a small pot (for the asparagus) and a large pot (for the pasta) of salted water. Snap the end parts of the asparagus with your hands, as low to the bottom as you can. This will remove the fibrous part of the stalk which is too tough to eat. Wash the asparagus and cut in pieces. When the water boils cook for the asparagus for about 8 minutes, depending on thickness, until tender.

Step 2: In a separate skillet, saute' the chopped onion. Drain the asparagus when ready, and add to the skillet. Let saute' for a few more minutes. Salt to taste if necessary.

Step 3: While you wait for the pasta to cook, wash and cut the tomatoes in small cubes. Place in a large bowl, with a little bit of salt and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.

Step 4: Drain the pasta. And if, like me, you are planning to take the pasta with you in for a picnic, run the pasta under cold water right after draining it for a minute. This will prevent the pasta from overcooking. Add to the tomatoes and top with the asparagus. Mix well, sprinkling with Parmesan cheese.
Buon Appetito!

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