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~ Farfalle w/Roasted Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes ~

IMG_5705Today 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.

PICT2719This 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.

IMG_56482-2 1/2 cups 2"-long asparagus tips, taken from 2 pounds medium-thickness asparagus, about 6-8 ounces

(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

IMG_56641  pound farfalle (bow ties), or any nontubular fork-friendly pasta like spirals or shells

(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".)

IMG_5655~ Step 1.  Place asparagus and tomatoes in a 9" pie dish.  Add EVOO  and toss to coat.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.

IMG_5659Roast on center rack of preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes, stopping to toss (with two tablespoons) every 6 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

IMG_5676~ 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.

IMG_5668~ Step 3. While pasta cooks, grate cheese and slice basil.

IMG_5690 IMG_5694~ Step 4. Using two large spoons, toss in the IMG_5699vegetables and all EVOO in pie dish.  Toss in mozzarella and basil.  Toss in grated cheese.

Season to taste with more freshly-ground sea salt and liberally with more peppercorn blend.

A simple, straightforward and seriously Springy side-dish!!!

IMG_5709Portion into warm bowls & serve topped w/more grated cheese.  Open wide for a mouthful of this gloriously happy meal! 

IMG_5717Farfalle w/Roasted Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes:  Recipe yields 6-8 side-servings or 4 main-course servings.

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

6a0120a8551282970b01630255e272970dCook'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


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