Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Penne with Asparagus & Pecorino Cheese

Every once in a while I crave a nice light dish for dinner. Usually this happens after a couple meat heavy or sauce laden meals.

Or after I step on the scale and say "well hello extra 5 pounds, where did you come from"? Nothing like swimsuit season to amplify those extra pounds.

Sigh. Time to put away the brownies and pull out the veggies. As painful as that might be, my jeans will thank me for it. And maybe even my shorts. With the bright flavor from the lemon and the crisp from the asparagus, pulling a switcheroo with the brownies might not be so bad after all.

Penne with Asparagus and Pecorino Cheese

Adapted from: Cooking Light, April 2011

8 ounces uncooked penne
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons shaved Pecorino Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain.

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus. Cook for 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer asparagus to a medium bowl; set aside and keep warm. Add broth, lemon zest, and garlic to skillet. Reduce liquid to 1/2 cup, about 6 minutes. Return asparagus to the pan. Stir in pasta, grated cheese, salt, and pepper. Top servings with 1 1/2 teaspoons shaved cheese.

Serves: 4 (1 1/4 cups pasta mixture plus 1 1/2 teaspoons shaved cheese)

While I consider this a "light" dish, it's still pretty filling. Well, at least Adam wasn't hungry after half an hour, which is always a good sign. Not to mention the fact that this dish comes together in under 30 minutes. Which leaves you even more time to be out and about in the sunshine instead of hovering over the stove. Win.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 332Calories from fat 125
% Daily Value
Total Fat 13.9g21%
Saturated Fat 4.8g24%
Cholesterol 64mg21%
Sodium 676mg28%
Total Carbs 36.9g12%
Fiber 2.6g10%
Sugars 2.4g
Protein 16.0g
Vitamin A 19%Vitamin C 14%
Calcium 27%Iron 26%


  1. Yum!! I'm always down with an 'under 500' meal! The lemons probably pack a nice punch to this, nice recipe.

  2. MMM!! This is my kind of dish. I adore pasta in nearly every shape and form, and mixed with asparagus it's just that much better. I'm with you on the amplified extra pounds...

  3. I love asparagus and I think that looks like the perfect summer dessert!

  4. @kitchenarian

    I meant to say dinner. But not bad for dessert either!! haha

  5. I love pecorino paired with asparagus. And there's nothing so satisfying as a light spring pasta on a warm evening.



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