Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lemony-Pepper Browned Butter Vinaigrette Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms

You know those people who are so nature-y....the ones who go on hikes instead of walks, who camp instead of staying in facilities with toilets, who bike and have edible gardens and are just so "one with nature."

I'm not one of them.

I wish I was. But I'm not.

I pee a lot. Like a lot. As soon as emailing became a thing my best friend (hi Jess!) was forwarding me links to pharmaceuticals helping overactive bladder.

So I get nervous being away from civilization. Away from toilets. Away from toilet paper.

And correlated with (caused by?) this issue, I drink a lot of water. And water is heavy. So I never have enough. And I get hungry. And food supplies must be hauled around as well.

And I sunburn. Ohhhh I sunburn. This wasn't always the case. In my younger days I was able to procure a respectable tan. But not anymore. Now all I can get is a respectable burn.

So while I totally promote environmentalist values and advocate a response to climate change (seriously, what's going on with that? aren't we going to at least try to do something??), I'm much better at experiencing nature from afar (unless we count the beach, I'm pro-beach). I'd much rather be at home on the couch with some popcorn and water and a toilet just footsteps away, watching Planet Earth.  And instead of raising my own produce, I will go to a market to obtain them - in this case, asparagus, and mushrooms, and spinach.  And then head to the kitchen, with its pots and pans and utensils, and turn those into a meal with pasta and browned butter vinaigrette.  I am forever grateful for civilization.

Adapted from Cooking Light's Roasted Asparagus with Browned Butter and Balsamic Vinegar.

2 bundles of asparagus, ends removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces whole wheat elbow noodles
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 cups spinach leaves

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
lots of freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions.

To make the asparagus: Heat oven to 400.  Drizzle oil on asparagus.  Sprinkle salt and pepper.  Roast for 10-15 minutes, until they have some of that delicious brown color.  Once done, remove from oven and set aside.

To make the mushrooms: Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the chopped mushrooms. Stir continuously, allowing the mushrooms to absorb the butter and oil mixture. After a few minutes, the mushrooms will brown. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette: Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; let it cook for about three minutes or until it has turned brown and has a nutty fragrance.  Remove from heat.  Stir in soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

In a large pot (I just used the pot that was used for making the pasta), mix asparagus, pasta, and mushrooms all together.  Toss in the spinach leaves.  Drizzle dressing over the pasta and vegetables.  Use tongs to coat.  Gently heat the pasta over low heat.  Once the pasta has been warmed and the spinach is slightly wilted, serve.  Top each pasta bowl with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


  1. woohoo! I have all the ingredients for this one, done and done :) and I'd hit the beach with you!

  2. You sound like me. I don't like nature. Well I like urban nature, parks where I can turn around and go to a Starbucks two blocks away and use their facilities. :-) I also like this, where I can cook it in my kitchen, not in a camp site!

  3. I'm not outdoors-y either. But I shop at farmer's markets, so I figure I do my part.

    Pasta and browned butter? Sign me up, please!

  4. I wish I could find some green asparagus now. The pasta looks so tasty!

  5. Girl I hear ya! I am so not outdoorsy (even though I was forced to camp for pretty much my entire childhood). And omg browned butter vinaigrette!

  6. I love nature, but I don't like bugs, or damp surroundings. (Even the prospect of glamping makes me itchy.) It's nice that other people will grow stuff for us (me)- I can't thank them enough.

    This looks ah-mazing!!

  7. Oh, yeah, I'd much rather stay near a bathroom and enjoy this fantastic pasta! There is not one thing I'd tweak in your recipe. My dad was one with nature...and he loved to take the family camping across America. Of course, my sisters and I vetoed any campsite without running water. We girls needed our showers and flush toilets!

  8. Haha! Me too! I would much rather stay indoors...and make a bowl of pasta like this. Thank you so much for sharing. Delicious, as always...and inspiring! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  9. Love all of the flavors in this pasta dish! I've yet to try brown butter with pasta!

  10. You're so funny :) I feel the same way about camping, sleeping in tents just isn't my thing, I much more prefer a nice cottage with some signs of civilization!

  11. This looks healthy and light!

  12. Your pasta sounds terrific. I'm like you...not much of an outdoors person myself. My husband kids me, saying my idea of ruffing it is a room without a view. :)

  13. Oh this looks so good! I'm trying hard to cook healthier meals lately, but ones that still taste delicious. Saving this recipe.

    I'm the same way - I like to experience nature from afar. Mostly when it comes to overnight camping. I need my bathroom near me at all times!! I pee a lot too :)

  14. I love camping, but also love to sleep on the couch :)
    The flavours in your pasta sounds really good!

  15. I love how you turned this side dish into a fabulous pasta dish!! I don't do nature for extended periods of time either. I'm not a fan of dirt or bugs. And I like my bed. A lot.

  16. Yum on the browned butter and way to turn it from a side into a satisfying veggie main. That lemon must really add a great freshness to it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...