Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus

Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus

Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus

Sometimes you want an easy and quick pasta recipe that tastes incredible. Well, this recipe for ravioli with sautéed asparagus is all of that and more.  It can be whipped up quickly and the addition of  parmesan cheese at the end makes it a culinary masterpiece.  I kid you not!

Fresh store bought ravioli is cooked, then tossed with asparagus that has been sautéed in a simple butter and lemon sauce.  A little bit of grated parmesan, and minced parsley  are added at the end–just give it a toss and you’re done.

I love asparagus, an early sign of spring around here, and I can’t resist buying it when I see it.  With asparagus you want a simple sauce to enhance it’s flavor and this light lemony, buttery sauce is just right.  All it consists of is butter, lemon juice and a dash of black pepper.  Not at all heavy or greasy, it just coats the ravioli and asparagus.

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A couple of notes:  The asparagus should be slightly damp when you sauté it.  This helps with the sauce.  So rinse your asparagus right before you chop it and add to the pan.

Also, you can use whatever fresh ravioli you like for this dish–cheese, mushroom, spinach would all be good choices.  I used a three-cheese ravioli for mine.

This is a dish that goes together very quickly so be sure to have everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.  It takes no time to prepare the asparagus, chop the parsley and measure out the other ingredients, so this can be done while you’re waiting for the water to boil for the ravioli.

RAVIOLI WITH SAUTÉED ASPARAGUS 

Yield:  Serves 2

Ingredients:IMG_9309

  • 1 (8-ounce) package fresh ravioli, filling of choice
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends removed, chopped into thirds
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • few twists, fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve at the table

Directions:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2.  Prepare asparagus by snapping off tough ends, then chopping into thirds, or smaller.  Mince parsley, squeeze lemon and measure out butter.

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3.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until frothy.  Add chopped asparagus to the pan, stir to coat asparagus with butter and cover with a lid.  (If asparagus is damp, steam created will hasten cooking.)  Cook for 4 – 5 minutes depending on thickness of asparagus.

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4.  Add ravioli to boiling water and cook as per package directions.  Drain when done and place in a bowl.  Keep warm.

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5.  When asparagus is done, add to bowl with ravioli with a slotted spoon.  Leave any browned butter in the pan.

6.  To the butter in the pan, add lemon juice, several twists fresh pepper, and bring to a boil.  Stir for 30 seconds.  Pour the butter-lemon sauce over the ravioli and asparagus.  This will just lightly coat them.

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7.  Add parsley and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese.  Toss to coat and combine.  Serve with more cheese at the table.

This is so good, I can’t wait to make it again.

 

SOURCE:  Adapted from Green Valley Kitchen

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Did you ever think you would be eating bacon and eggs with spaghetti?  Carbonara means with bacon in a light egg sauce.  So today we have an entree that includes both bacon and eggs.  Paired up with spaghetti, this is a simple peasant-type meal;  add asparagus for its added nutritional value, green color of spring (you can tell I’m waiting here), and textural crunch.  What results is a dish that is so well balanced with flavor, texture and “dish appeal” that you’ll want to taste it right off this page if you could.

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You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry to make this meal, except the asparagus.  If they are available where you live, I urge you not to waste any time in getting some and making this delectable dish.  You won’t be sorry.

SPAGHETTI CARBONARA WITH ASPARAGUS

Yield:    Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Just a few ingredients.

Just a few ingredients.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 1 bunch asparagus, , ends trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and cheese.

Mixing the eggs and cheese together.

Mixing the eggs and cheese together.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, adding the asparagus during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

2.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Add the hot pasta and asparagus to the egg mixture;  toss to coat.

3.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until crisp; stir in the garlic.

Cooking up the bacon.

Cooking up the bacon.

Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.  Stir the bacon mixture into the pasta, adding enough of the reserved pasta water to moisten; season with salt and pepper.

This is delectable!

This is delectable!

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Serve with more grated cheese at the table to sprinkle on top.  A tossed green salad completes this meal.

SOURCE:   Everyday with Rachael Ray

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Fresh asparagus are now appearing in the produce aisles of the market, and I look forward to its reappearance each year.  This is one vegetable I really love.  When I first start cooking it again I usually just steam it briefly so it’s just crisp tender and serve it with a little butter or spritz it with lemon juice.  But after having it that way a few times I start looking for ways to dress it up and offer more variety.

So pretty when plated.

So pretty when plated.

This recipe is a new and different way that I have found to prepare it.  The asparagus is cooked briefly, and while that’s going on you make a sauce out of olive oil, garlic, grape tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.  When you serve it, sprinkle goat cheese over the top.  This makes a great side dish to go with almost any entree I can think of.  Every bite provides some crispness from the asparagus, some tartness from the balsamic tomato sauce, and then some creaminess from the goat cheese.  What a mouth sensation!!   I was so happy to see that there was some leftover, because I’m having it again tomorrow with a poached egg for my lunch.

Can you also believe that you can get so much pleasure and goodness for only 69 calories and 6.5 g carbohydrates/serving?  Yes,  my kind of dish, indeed.

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ASPARAGUS WITH BALSAMIC TOMATOES

Yield:    4 servings

Ingredients:

Just a few ingredients needed.

Just a few ingredients needed.

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1  1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic ( 1 small clove)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
  • dash black pepper

Directions:

1.  Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.   Drain and keep warm.

2.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes.

Sautéing the tomatoes and garlic.

Sautéing the tomatoes and garlic.

Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes.  Stir in salt.

Add in balsamic vinegar and salt.

Add in balsamic vinegar and salt.

3.  Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light;   April, 2011

Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

This may seem like an odd name for a recipe, but it comes from Barbara Kingsolver’s excellent book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral:  A Year of Food Life.  In it she describes a winter of  relying on root vegetables and home-grown  canned goods, so the first green shoots to emerge from the earth in the spring were pounced upon by her family.  The minerals contained in these new shoots were believed to provide renewed vigor and energy for bodies tired of being cooped up all winter.

This recipe uses fresh young asparagus but if you’re in an area where fiddleheads** are available they would be a wonderful replacement for the asparagus.  The quantity of the recipe is designed to fit into a 9″ or 10″ pie pan.  If you’re using a shallower quiche pan  use 3 eggs and cut back the buttermilk to 3/4 cup.

The buttermilk called for in this recipe gives the custard a “tang” that is typical of buttermilk.  If you prefer a more traditional flavored  filling you may use regular milk instead with equally good results.  This quiche cuts and hold its shape vey well especially it you let it rest for about 15 minutes before serving as the recipe suggests.

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SPRING TONIC  (ASPARAGUS ) QUICHE

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Yield:   8 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 single recipe pie dough, or use 1/2 package refrigerator pie dough
  • 2  1/2 cup asparagus spears or fiddleheads, bias sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1  1/2 cup grated cheese ( your choice, but Swiss, Parmesan and/or Asiago are good)
  • 3 to 4 four large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1.  Preheat the oven to 425*F.  Line a 9 or 10-inch pie pan  or 10-inch quiche pan with the pastry.  Chill the lined dish while the oven comes up to temperature.  This will minimize shrinking while it bakes.

2.  Bake the chilled crust for 10 minutes;  remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375*.

3.  For the Filling:  Spread the sliced asparagus over the crust.  Place the tips around the outside edge for a nice effect.  Sprinkle the chives and cheese on top.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Whisk together the eggs, flour, buttermilk, and Worcestershire and pour over the vegetables and cheese.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

4.  Place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the custard is firm 3″ in from the edge and a knife inserted in that spot comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Out of the oven and cooling.

Out of the oven and cooling.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

**A note about fiddleheads:  These are the tops of ostrich ferns, and they appear in shady woodland spots in early May.  They look like green, fuzzy bumps;  below the brown stalks of last year’s growth.

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the ...

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the spring (taken in Rindge, New Hampshire). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They emerge tightly curled and covered in a brown, scaly papery covering.  They can easily be snapped off when they are no more than 3 or 4 inches high.  To clean them, wash well and remove the papery covering.  Cook in boiling salted water until you can just pierce them with a fork.  Drain and rinse and treat them as you would asparagus.

SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet, King Arthur Flour.

Eggs with Asparagus, Potatoes, Pancetta and Bread Crumbs

Eggs with Asparagus and Potatoes.

Eggs with Asparagus and Potatoes.

Placing an egg with a still-runny yolk on top of any roasted or sautéed vegetable is a perfect recipe.  The soft, yolk flows over the vegetable, making a simple, luscious sauce.  In springtime asparagus is a great choice, but if not available in your area, then try sautéed broccoli, or kale instead.

I made this meal not long ago and included potatoes to give it even greater substance for our supper.  If you portion the ingredients for the number of people who will eat it, you will not be tempted to over eat, because it is filling and you will be satisfied.  I used an egg poacher to cook the eggs, but you could also fry them with equally good results.  To make this into a vegetarian meal, omit the pancetta.

EGGS WITH ASPARAGUS, POTATOES, PANCETTA AND BREAD CRUMBS

SERVINGS:    4IMG_3725

  • 1  pound asparagus, tough ends removed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 – 3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 – 3 thin slices pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F    Spread the asparagus in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Turn the spears several times to coat them evenly with oil.  Roast, turning once or twice, until the spears are tender-crisp, about 15 minutes;  the timing will depend on the thickness of the spears.  Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and set aside.

2.  In a large non-stick skillet put a small amount of water – just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Lay the potatoes in concentric circles in the bottom of the pan placing as close together as you can.  Add water if necessary, so there is enough for them to start cooking.  Cover the pan and cook potatoes till just barely fork tender, about 5 – 6 minutes.  Drain out any remaining water.  Add 2 Tablespoons butter that has been cut into small pieces.  Let it melt in the hot pan lifting the potato slices so butter gets underneath them. You may need to turn up the heat, so potatoes get a nice browned crust on the bottom.

3. While the potatoes are cooking, in another small skillet,  over medium heat, fry the pancetta until crisp.  Set it aside in a small bowl.  In the same skillet cook the bread crumbs in any drippings from the pancetta, and it there are none add a drizzle of olive oil.  Get the bread crumbs crisp and slightly browned.  Set them aside.

4.  Place the asparagus spears on top of the now browned potatoes, and in another fry pan fry the eggs,  or you may want to poach them instead.  When the eggs are cooked to the point where whites are firm, but yolks still runny, remove them for the heat and place on top of the asparagus.

Place cooked eggs on top of   asparagus and potatoes.

Place cooked eggs on top of asparagus and potatoes.

5. Before bringing to the table, sprinkle pancetta and bread crumbs over the top.  Serve with a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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SOURCE:   Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Blog,  The Blender

Shades of Green

I’m thinking green, people.  I don’t mean environmentally green as in recycle, reduce, reuse or regift.  I mean the color green, as in grass,  spring,  shamrocks, emeralds,  (woo-hoo, my birthstone!).

Penne with Asparagus and Shrimp

Penne with Asparagus and Shrimp

What got me thinking along these lines was a display of fresh asparagus at the supermarket.  This vegetable says spring to me like no other so I had to buy some.  And then the question, ‘what shall I make with it?’  I pondered:  roast asparagus?  steamed asparagus with butter sauce?   asparagus with eggs?  No,  even though I like all those dishes, I wanted something more substantial that would make a whole meal.  So, remembering that I had a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer,  ( remember my resolution not to forget about foods in the freezer?)  I decided on the following recipe for Penne with Asparagus and Shrimp.  This is a healthy, hearty, yet easy recipe that is good enough to serve to guests.  It also makes a great take-along lunch for the next day.

PENNE WITH ASPARAGUS AND SHRIMP

SERVES:   about 4 generously

INGREDIENTS

Beautiful green asparagus, shrimp, onions and garlic.

Beautiful green asparagus, shrimp, onions and garlic.

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the table

DIRECTIONS

1.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the penne and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain

2.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.   Stir in the garlic and onion, and cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.

Onions doing their thing.

Onions doing their thing.

3.  Pour in the white wine, and simmer for 2 minutes.  Stir in the red pepper flakes, butter, and asparagus;

White wine, butter and asparagus added.

White wine, butter and asparagus added.

Cook until the asparagus is just tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the shrimp and lemon juice, continue cooking until the shrimp have turned pink and are no longer translucent in the center.  Season with salt and pepper.

Shrimp, lemon juice, and then pasta added.

Shrimp, lemon juice, and then pasta added.

4.  Toss the cooked penne pasta with the shrimp and asparagus mixture.  Sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan cheese to garnish.

This just keeps getting better and better!

Sprinkle on more Parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle on more Parmesan cheese.

Serve with more parmesan cheese at the table to sprinkle on each serving.

SOURCE:  AllRecipes.com

Chicken and Tortellini with Asparagus and Zucchini

Most of us love pasta with red sauce.  They go together like peanut butter and jelly, or iced tea with lemon.  But let’s face it when the days are beautiful and warm we’d much rather be outdoors than in the kitchen making the sauce, cooking pasta and eating a heavy, hot meal.  Right about now I’m lightening up our meals, and including as many fresh,  seasonal, vegetables as I can work into our diet.  Pasta(s) still have their place, but are used a little differently.  The pasta assumes a secondary role rather than being the main focus.  In this recipe chicken and vegetables are the main focus and tortellini helps round out the meal for an all-in-one-pan entree, quick and easy to prepare.

Chicken and Tortellini with Asparagus and Zucchini

SERVES   4-6

  •  1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
  •  1  9oz.package refrigerated tortellini ( herb and chicken or any other flavor of choice)
  • 1  lb. fresh asparagus
  • 1 small-medium zucchini, cut into half-moons
  •  1/4 cup chopped green onions
  •  2 Tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 med. size red pepper, cut into thin strips
  •  1  8-10 oz.jar basil pesto (pictured here, homemade pesto)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 Tablespoons sliced black olives (optional)

1.  Prepare tortellini according to package directions.  Meanwhile, snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus, and cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces.

2.  Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Saute in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 6-7 minutes or until almost done. Remove to a platter and keep warm.

3.  In the drippings remaining in the skillet, sauté the onions  and red pepper over medium heat 1-2 minutes or until softened.  Increase heat to medium-high, add asparagus and  zucchini  and sauté 5-6 minutes.

4.  Stir in pesto,  and return chicken to skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Save aside about 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.  Drain the tortellini and add to skillet with additional cooking water to loosen the sauce as desired.

Sprinkle with Parmesan and sliced black olives if desired.  Serve immediately.

SOURCE:  adapted from  Southern Living Magazine

Asparagus Popover

One of the things I love about living where I do, is the abundance of farm stands selling freshly grown native fruits and vegetables.  Most of them open around the beginning of May, taking advantage of the earliest vegetables like asparagus, lettuces, radishes, and rhubarb.  Once the markets open, I’m there weekly -often more so- and I plan my meals around what’s available and fresh.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved the combination of asparagus and eggs.  My mother frequently served crisp-tender asparagus with scrambled or poached eggs, and home fries along side as a quick supper. SWOON! I still love it today, but I also like to mix things up a little bit and try new combinations.

My thought process in creating this dish went something like this:  Asparagus is very good in quiche, yes? and quiche is basically an egg and milk batter very much like popovers,right?   So how would it be to make a giant popover with asparagus in it?  I didn’t have to twist my own arm to give it a try—-and here is the result.  My husband and I enjoyed it with crisp smoked bacon along side, and toasted English muffins with orange marmalade.

P.S.  My husband says I spoil him.  He’s  right, I do!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound asparagus, washed, and tough ends removed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup  flour
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 cup grated cheese (your choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a saucepan heat enough salted water to reach a depth of 1 inch.  Bring to a boil.  Add the asparagus and cook until crisp tender, about 3 minutes..  Drain, rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels.  Cut the spears into thirds.
  2. In a medium cast-iron skillet, (or other dish that can withstand hot oven temperature)  add the butter, and place in the oven to melt the butter.
  3. In a medium bowl, microwave the milk on high for 30 seconds.  Whisk in the eggs, then the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, pinch of sugar.
  4. Position the asparagus pieces in the hot skillet, and gently pour the batter on top.  Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18-20 minutes.  Top with remaining cheese and return to oven to melt the cheese. 
  5. Remove from oven and serve immediately, since popovers tend to deflate quickly, and this one is so pretty.
Serves 4
Source:  a Carolyn Original