So simple, but oh so satisfying, this one-pot pasta makes great use of fresh spring asparagus. This dish of penne with asparagus whips up in about 20 minutes, making a delicious, home-cooked weeknight meal.
Complete the meal: All you need to round out an easy meal is a simple salad (toss in some chickpeas or other beans for extra protein); if you’d like, add a crusty bread, olive bread, or garlic bread.
A FEW ASPARAGUS TIPS (PARDON THE PUN)
- Slender asparagus is often seen in spring, but too slender, as mentioned in the recipe, isn’t a good thing. You want stalks that are succulent, or you’ll just be getting a lot of skin and little flavor.
- Choose bundles with firm spears; the tips should be closed, plump and green.
- Avoid bundles whose ends look withered — a sure sign that they’re past their peak.
- If you won’t be using the asparagus right away (though you should use it within a day or two of buying), wrap the ends of the stalks with a damp paper towel and put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- You can also stand asparagus spears upright in a glass filled with 2 to 3 inches of cool water. That’s even better!
Recipe is from Vegan for Everyone by Laura Theodore, Scribe Publishing Company ©2020. Reprinted by permission. Photo credit: Annie Olivero, UnrefinedVegan.com.
- 1 pound penne pasta (use gluten-free variety for a gluten-free option)
- 4½ cups fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1½ to 2-inch lengths
- 3 tablespoons vegan buttery spread at room temperature, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
- 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric, optional
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the penne. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the asparagus, stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the penne is cooked al dente and the asparagus is crisp-tender.
- Meanwhile, put the vegan buttery spread, parsley, basil, marjoram, garlic powder, sea salt, and optional turmeric in a bowl large enough to also accommodate the penne and the asparagus, and whip vigorously with a fork until well combined.
- Drain the penne and asparagus, and while they are still piping hot, pour them over the buttery herb mixture. Toss gently until thoroughly combined.
- Season with more salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and toss again. If the pasta seems slightly dry, add a bit more vegan buttery spread, as needed. Serve immediately.
MORE ABOUT VEGAN FOR EVERYONE
Easy weeknight suppers, classic weekend menus and festive holiday family fare make VEGAN FOR EVERYONE the perfect book for anyone looking to “jazz up” mealtimes by adding easy-to-prepare and delicious, plant-based food into their weekly menu plans.
In addition to featuring over 100 new recipes, award-winning vegan chef Laura Theodore (PBS’s Jazzy Vegetarian) includes updates on 60 fan-favorite recipes from her first four books, making this new cookbook a complete and fun way to make family meals kinder, healthier and – most of all – tastier! Over 135 of the recipes include a gluten-free option, making VEGAN FOR EVERYONE sure to please . . . well . . . just about everyone!
Tune in for Laura’s vegan television show, Jazzy Vegetarian, airing nationally on many public television channels (check local listings). Visit Laura at Jazzy Vegetarian.
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