Oh. my. god. Our local asparagus. And our spring onions. My excitement at the farm stand may just put ‘Old Man Winters’ over the edge…
‘Old Man Winters’ being any older man in the area wearing a plaid, flannel shirt no matter what the temperature or time of year. This reference being the older man who sits at the stand in his plaid flannel shirt, watching the cars go by and waiting for someone to stop and engage. The other day, that someone being me.
This is hands down the time of year that I anticipate most around here. I wait and I watch for that old wooden awning to be lifted up across from the hardware store with the sign out front saying nothing but ‘asparagus’. And as soon as I do, I stop and I buy. You guys, there is nothing like asparagus, or any fruit or veggie for that matter, that is fresh off the farm. It’s just so different all around. The way it looks, the way it feels, and the way it has this almost magical energy surrounding it. I know, I know, that sounds hippyish or something, but it’s so true. It just calls to you, and you (or me) can’t help but buy pretty much all of it.
I had stopped on Monday specifically for asparagus, but when I did, there were also these amazingly beautiful spring onions sitting right next to the bunches and I couldn’t help but go on and on about them. Their smell, their color, their gorgeous lines…oh my god…
So the first thing I did was come home and immediately spread them out to photograph in all their glory, all by themselves. And as you can see below, a little hand made its way into one of the shots. That’s legit folks, Ethan loves fresh asparagus and goes for it any chance he can get. Which of course makes me all kinds of happy to see. I mean, how cute it that face?!?!?
This recipe showcases both the fresh asparagus and the spring onions with the simplest of ingredients. I like to serve it at room temperature, but it’s just as good either hot or cold. When it’s hot, the goat cheese melts into the balsamic reduction creating a sweet and savory sauce of decadence. When it’s cold, it’s refreshing and light. And at room temp, it’s pretty much a mix of the two. However you go about serving it, the flavors are amazing and it’s one of the most delicious spring pastas in my book. ENJOY!
Oh, and sidenote…they bunch all of the asparagus at the stand by size so that whatever size you buy will cook evenly. Talk about attention to detail…Love that!
Whole Wheat Penne with Spring Onions, Asparagus, and Balsamic Reduction
- 16 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut in half
- 5 radishes, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
- 2/3 cup crumbled chèvre cheese (or goat cheese)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
- Place the asparagus in a large saucepan with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and steam until just cooked but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
- Place the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until reduced and lightly thickened into syrup consistency.
- In a large bowl, or on a large serving platter, gently toss the pasta with the balsamic reduction, asparagus, radish slices, and sweet onion. Sprinkle the chèvre, basil, and lemon zest evenly over the pasta mix and give one last gentle toss before serving. ENJOY!