Spring Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

Spring Asparagus Penne|Spoonwithme.com-14

It’s about time we got some spring going on up in here!  I’ve been a little sporadic here, and not because I haven’t been thinking about all of you, my wonderful Spoonies!  In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about you and your ability to access all my recipes more easily.  I’m working hard in the background to do a total revamp of Spoon With Me, to be unveiled in the near future!  I can’t tell you how excited I am!  Besides that, let me assure you that I have not been huddled in front of a microwave waiting for my frozen meal to be finished.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I started feeling a little stumped on what to post for the past couple months.  Sometimes when we’re at a loss and inspiration seems like it’s not as free-flowing as we would like it to be, the best thing to do is feed ourselves–the inspiration will grow from that.  

Spring Asparagus Penne|Spoonwithme.com

I love listening to The Good Life podcast, and Jonathan Fields explains it like this–we have 3 buckets–contribution, connection, and vitality.  In short, each bucket can only be as full as the least-full bucket, so if our vitality bucket is empty (how we nourish and take care of ourselves), we don’t have enough energy to connect with others or contribute our ideas and talents to the people around us.  For me, it seems counter-intuitive to pause and step back when I really really want to create, create, create!  I think that if I could just think hard enough, a golden goose egg of an idea will just pop out of my brain.   However, for me, the hamster wheel of spinning thoughts seldom produces the best ideas.  Ideas need space to grow and breathe, then they just seem to appear on their own.  Recently, I’ve been setting the table for creativity, and waiting for it to come (thanks Elizabeth Gilbert!).   For me this happens when I slow down and allow myself to enjoy what I enjoy without pressure.  There’s been a lot of recipe ogling, cooking, playing in the garden, and art-making going on all up in here!  I may not have been posting, but man, I’ve been eating, and creating just to create, and little by little, I’ve felt my blogging inspiration come back!

Spring Asparagus Penne|Spoonwithme.com-13

Spring Asparagus Penne|Spoonwithme.com-7

With the weather being warmer than any spring I remember in Colorado, I’m starting to crave lighter, brighter fare.  Here’s a recipe I improvised on a night I wanted dinner fast.  It only takes a little chopping, one sheet pan, and in under 30 minutes, voila!  You’ve got dinner!  Perhaps I was feeling a bit Mary Poppins-ish, but I  wanted the sauce to practically make itself as it cooked.  The basic gist is to toss the asparagus, cherry tomato, mushrooms,  an almost-obscene amount of garlic and lemon slices with olive oil on a sheet pan, and broil it until the veggies are slightly blistered and golden.  Deglaze with a little white wine, and what you have in the end is perfectly roasted vegetables and a little pan sauce.  Everything, including the lemon slices gets thrown into a bowl with the pasta, and the last step (almost) does itself–you’ll stir everything together, making sure to push the softened lemon pulp out of the rinds where it will join with the white wine and cherry tomato juices and shallots to form a light and lemony sauce that coats the pasta.  

Spring Asparagus Penne|Spoonwithme.com-11

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, about 10 ounces
  • 8 ounces asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 ounces crimini mushrooms, halved and thickly sliced
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced, about 4 oz
  • 8 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 lemons, sliced thick, seeds and ends removed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 ounces whole wheat or brown rice penne (this is my favorite gf pasta which can be found at many local grocery stores)
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine (vegetable or chicken broth will work too)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • a couple pinches crushed red pepper, optional


Preheat broiler on low.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Toss the cherry tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, lemon slices and thyme in olive oil, and season w/ salt and pepper to taste.  Broil on low 4 inches from the heating element for 10-15 minutes.  Cook the pasta according to package directions while the veggies are broiling.  You want the cherry tomatoes to pop and be darkened in spots, the asparagus crisp-tender and slightly under-done. If the vegetables don’t seem to be cooking enough, broil on high for a few minutes, watching carefully.  Add the white wine and put back in the oven for a few minutes to reduce slightly.

Toss all the vegetables, including the lemon slices in a large bowl with the hot pasta.  As you stir, press the inside of the lemons against the sides of the bowl– the lemon pulp will come out of the rinds to create a sauce. Remove the peels from the pasta.   Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve while hot. 



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2 responses to “Spring Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

  1. I can’t wait to see your revamp here! And I’m loving tossing spring asparagus in almost every dish in the kitchen. Hope you’re doing well and soaking up all the color here in Denver!

  2. Maxine Guest

    This is one of my favorite dishes although they have Healthy Choice written on the box. When you revamp will you please include a Chef! Thanks for this one. I will try it. You’re doing great on your Spring menu! Grandma

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