~ Farfalle w/Roasted Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes ~
Today we enjoyed our first thick, juicy outdoor-grilled steak of the Spring season. Yes, Joe does grill off-and-on throughout the Winter, but, there's just something celebratory about the official opening day of grill season. This simple, straightforward side-dish was the only thing I needed to turn a steak-on-a-plate into our entire meal, and, we gobbled it all up. While this pasta dish goes great with chicken or shrimp tossed into it, I enjoy it the most served next to a steak. That said, it is also well-balanced enough to be served "as is" as a dang-good meatless meal.
This has been a banner year for asparagus here in Central PA. They are plump and juicy, and, I've been binge-buying two-pounds of them every few days. On Easter Sunday, I made my recipe for ~ It's Easy Being Green: Cream of Asparagus Soup + (How to Choose, Store and Cook Asparagus too! ~. You can get the recipe by clicking on the Related Article link below. In preparation for making this side-dish tonight, I set all of the 2" tips aside, using only the stalks to make the soup.
(Note: This dish looks prettier using all asparagus tips, so, when I'm making it for a special occasion, I use them exclusively, but, feel free to use 2" lengths of the stalks too, after discarding the woody ends from the bottom of the spears.)
2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half, about 1 pint
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend
(Note: Since this pasta is not tossed with a liquid sauce, fork-friendly pasta that contains holes, like penne or rigatoni, end up bland tasting because there is no liquid to flow through their holes.)
1 1/2 cups well-drained fresh mozzarella pearls (perline), about 1, 8-ounce container
1 1/2 cups finely-grated locatelli cheese, or Parmigiano-Reggiano + 1/2 cup additional cheese for topping finished portions
3/4-1 cup chiffinade of fresh basil (Note: "Chiffonade" is a French word that means "little ribbons".)
~ Step 2. In an 8-quart stockpot, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Sprinkle in the farfalle and cook until al dente, about 9-10 minutes. Drain into a colander and immediately return pasta to the still hot stockpot.
Season to taste with more freshly-ground sea salt and liberally with more peppercorn blend.
A simple, straightforward and seriously Springy side-dish!!!
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 9" pie dish; two ordinary tablespoons; 8-quart stockpot; colander; microplane grater; two large spoons or salad servers
Cook's Note: For a twist on this recipe (it doesn't contain pasta) that makes a tasty bed to serve grilled steak on, click into Categories 4 or 14 to get ~ Roasted Asparagus, Tomatoes, Mushrooms & Feta w/Balsamic Reduction ~.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015