This is the definition of a good, solid recipe = three stars. It was tasty, light-ish, and easy to make. Didn't bowl me over or even close, but made a good dinner tonight since we were in the mood for something lighter tasting. I used less olive oil to saute, and about 2/3 the butter called for (just cut off a knob of butter about 1 1/2 Tbs). Used whole wheat pasta, and the nutty flavor complemented the asparagus and pecans. My kids didn't care for it, but they don't like anything.
Asparagus Pasta With Toasted Pecans
You might be tempted to drain off the chicken broth after cooking the asparagus, but we found that's one of the keys to the recipe's flavor.
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- 1 (16-ounce) package penne pasta
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus (about 1 pound)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup pecan halves, toasted and divided
- Garnishes: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper
- Prepare pasta according to package directions; rinse and drain.
- Snap off tough ends of asparagus, and cut into 2-inch pieces.
- Sauté asparagus in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 4 minutes. Stir in red bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Stir in salt and pepper.
- Toss together pasta, asparagus mixture, basil, 1/2 cup cheese, butter, and 1/2 cup pecans. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 cup pecans. Garnish, if desired.
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