Smoky Glazed Asparagus

This is Week #43 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

My sleeping/non-sleeping continues this week, if that makes any sense. One of these days I will get ahead. I have two more weekends sans-husband and after that the little boys and I get six months worth of weekends with him and his beard! Have I mentioned my husband's beard? The beard that has its own Facebook page (not kidding)? Every other year, he grows a beard from October to December that makes all men jealous. We are currently in the middle of Beard 2011. Most people find it impressive. I find it...well, let's just say I can't wait to see his face again! 

Enough about beards, let's get to this delicious asparagus recipe! I made it during our Crazy Hour the other night and didn't lose my mind, so that is saying a lot. It was super simple and I loved the flavor, as well. If you love asparagus, you absolutely have to give this a try.

Light a grill.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the following ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Add 1 pound of trimmed thick asparagus. Toss and let stand for 30 minutes.

Grill the asparagus over moderately high heat, turning, until tender and blistered in spots, about 6 minutes.

Serve immediately! Yum!

Penne with asparagus, sage and peas

This is Week #39 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

This time of year I am all about comfort food. I have gotten into a routine of making a giant batch of something involving cheese and pasta and then eating it over the course of a few days. On the days when I have a container of comforting yumminess sitting in the fridge at work, I obsess about lunch time. Is 10:30 too early to eat lunch? There is something about crisp fall weather and cheesy pasta that go so well together.

I have been so excited to make this penne dish. I basically kept the entire batch to myself, and I think my family was fine with that. The whole vegetable thing must not have been super appealing to them, which I think is just plain weird.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1/2 pound penne pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add:

3 medium garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths

Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add 2 cups of chicken stock and boil over high heat until reduced by half and the asparagus are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add:

2 cups (10 ounces) shelled English peas or frozen baby peas, thawed

1/4 cup heavy cream

Boil over hight heat until the sauce has thickened, 3 minutes. 

Stir in the penne and and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in:

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve immediately, passing additional Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table.

A couple notes about this recipe:

I love the addition of sage.

It was super easy to make.

Did I mention it was comforting?