Monday, March 1, 2010

Risky Business

Okay, so I've never seen Risky Business, but I'm just going to pretend I know what it's about.  Making the most of being home alone?  Am I warm?  John is out of town for a couple of days and I'm finally back in the kitchen now that the bar exam is over.  Instead of sliding around in socks on wooden floors I improvised with a recipe I really like and made an asparagus-onion-penne-concoction that turned out really well. 
I make Giada's Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables pretty often, and John and I love it.  For tonight's variation I decided not to use any tomato sauce and to just use the bunch of fresh asparagus I grabbed at the farmers market today and the half of an onion I had in my fridge.  I also used more cheese to compensate for the lack of sauce (and because my slightly cheese-adverse husband is gone). 

I think I'm going to make the sauce-less version with all kinds of vegetables from now on.  It really tastes delicious and is incredibly easy.  For those of you not in asparagus-land yet (a bit cold for out east), broccoli would work great.  If you use a vegetable that takes longer to cook, you will likely want to roast them for closer to 15 minutes than the 10 minutes I did for the asparagus.  It's flexible though, because you are cooking everything a second time.  This is also why you cook your pasta very al dente since you will be baking it later.  And be careful when you're sliding around your house in socks, people.

Penne Asparagus Bake
1/2 pound penne (whole wheat if you like)
1 pound of asparagus
1/2 onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence
3/4 - 1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 - 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
1-2 tablespoons butter

Cook 1/2 pound of penne pasta (whole wheat, if you prefer) in salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes less than package directions.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Snap ends off asparagus (about 1.5 inches) and then cut into thirds.  Take 1/2 an onion and cut into slices.  Place asparagus and onion on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil, kosher salt, ground pepper, and herbs de provence.  Roast asparagus and onion pieces at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Place pasta and vegetables into a large bowl and mix in 1 cup shredded mozzarella and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan.  Place pasta and vegetables into a greased pan (roughly the size you would use to make brownies).  Top with a generous amount of grated Parmesan and small pieces of butter (1-2 tablespoons worth).  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, until browned and crispy.


  1. i made something similar over the weekend, but used roasted califlower. yum!

  2. So you don't need any kind of cream or liquid or anything to keep it from being dry? The cheese does the trick all on its own?

  3. So long as there is plenty of mozzarella it will not be too dry. If you don't like the noodles on top to get a little crunchy you can bake it for less time too.

  4. Sounds good! I picked up the asparagus and onion at the grocery yesterday and will be making this for dinner tonight!


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