Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

9 Jun

Bleh, I am feeling terrible lately. The cold that has been spreading like wildfire around my summer classmates has finally reached me, with a vengeance. Cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose…the whole 9. To make matters worse, I think I accidently took Nyquil instead of Dayquil this morning because when I awoke, I was surprisingly refreshed, but about 1/2 hour after drinking that disgusting liquid medicine, I felt like I was about to fall asleep standing up. So it was either a cold-medicine mix-up…or something very weird is happening to me. Whatever the case, I am not  a very productive worker today.

But despite being stricken with the plague, I’ve managed to throw dinner together the last three nights because my husband was working late. Given my condition, it really says something about (a) my husband’s [unfounded] confidence that I am not going to spread my sickness to him through food preparation, and (b) the level of ease of these dishes.

On the first night, as agonized as I was, I made Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes. It is uncharacteristically hot here in Indiana (think, Sahara desert), so I went for something light and refreshing, yet comforting. My husband came home and said, “You didn’t have to make something so complicated!” But, alas, it’s not! This dish is super quick simple to make, yet quite delicious. Asparagus is in season now so I am eating it with every opportunity, and cherry tomatoes are a great, springy, refreshing accent.

Sick or not, give it a try!

Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes (adapted from recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)


  • 8 ounces whole grain 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 pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups (about 9 ounces) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup vegetable 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 10 to 12 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 vegetable 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.

Makes 4-5 servings.


3 Responses to “Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes”

  1. Kathy Scott June 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    This looks delicious, I am going to make it at my earliest opportunity!

  2. birdonawire23 June 14, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Good for you for stomaching the liquid nyquil. I’d rather just be sick than have to do that. Oh and this dish looks and sounds so yummy 🙂

  3. crustabakes June 20, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Lol, this might be a great way to trick ppl that u been slaving away at the kitchen for dinner!! anyways, i hope u get well soon!

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