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Asparagus Pasta: A Tasty Non-Meat Dish

This is the first of a two-part column about Drew and Christy Kimball who divide and conquer cooking tasks to provide tasty meals for their family. This week features Christy in the kitchen.

Christy Kimball began cooking in earnest during her years at college when she and her roommates decided to each take a turn cooking one night per week. With a binder of her mom’s favorite recipes she set out into the world of meal preparation.

Kimball, who lives with her husband Drew and two children just outside of Johns Creek, explains that she likes the structure of having a good recipe to follow when she cooks. Kimball says that, “I enjoy following a recipe and seeing it turn out well. As long as I have a good recipe I’m good to go.” 

With two young children to care for, Kimball prefers to keep cooking as simple as possible. “I like to use primarily ingredients that I normally have in my pantry.” She also likes to make meatloaf and other dishes that she can prepare ahead of time and then pop them in the oven when it’s time to cook.

Kimball plans the weekly menus and then both she and husband Drew do the cooking on different nights. During the week there will be basic protein, starch and green vegetable combos for a couple of nights. They also try to have one non-meat dinner and one pasta meal per week.

The recipe below is one of Kimballs favorite pasta/non-meat dishes. Her kids love it, it’s good for serving to guests and good as a cold leftover. That about covers every base.  

Asparagus Pasta Serves about 6-8 and can be a side or main dish.
ingredients:

  • 16 oz penne pasta (1 box)
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus (about 1 lb)
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 1 Tb minced garlic
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 3 Tb fresh chopped basil (or 3 tsp dried)
  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted & divided

prep:

Prepare pasta as noted on the box.

Snap off tough ends of asparagus and cut in 2” pieces.

Sauté asparagus in hot oil in large skillet over medium heat for 2 min.

Add red bell pepper & garlic, cook stirring occasionally for 2 min.

Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat & simmer for 2 min or until asparagus is crisp-tender.

Stir in salt, pepper and basil if you’re using dried basil.

Toss together pasta, asparagus mixture, fresh basil, ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, butter and ½ cup toasted pecans.

For presentation: Sprinkle evenly with remaining ¼ cup parmesan cheese & ½  cup pecans. Or, as Kimball says, “Typically I just mix all of it together since my family isn't impressed with presentation.” 

This is good served hot or cold.

Carol Byess September 02, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Thanks, Carol, for highlighting my youngest daughter in your column!

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