Last week, I was the perfect patient and followed Dr’s orders to rest! During that time, Food Network was on pretty much constantly. One show I caught was Giada’s Everyday Italian show. It was A Pasta for all Seasons….and two of her dishes in particular really appealed to me. So much so, that I made sure to have ingredients here to try one of them this weekend! Another show that has had some really yummy food is Guy’s Big Bite. I have bookmarked a few of his recipes I want to try also!

I love dishes that call for fresh vegetables and incorporating it with pasta. Whats so great about this kind of recipe is that you can also include a protein like shrimp or chicken in this dish also (for those out there who, like Grumpy, think you can’t have a main meal without some kind of meat!)

I made a couple different changes to the recipe. Instead of chicken broth, I used better than bouillon vegetable broth. Then, instead of Parmesan cheese, I used grated asiago cheese (freshly grated) as that was what I had on hand. I had the basil, but in my hunger I forgot to add it. (rolling my eyes here). lol Yeah, my appetite has started to come back. But at least I’m wanting fresh and healthy foods right now. ;o)

Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008


8 ounces penne pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1- 1/2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (about 9 ounces) cherry tomatoes
1 cup shelled fresh peas
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus, season with the salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes until slightly soft. Add the cherry tomatoes and peas. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes start to burst and the stock is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the asparagus mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 of the Parmesan. Toss well, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan and chopped basil.