Penne, Roasted Asparagus & Balsamic Butter

I was once told by a self proclaimed nutrition guru from Mother’s in Portland that asparagus is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on earth, next to the pit of an avocado. (no joke! he said to grate it into health shakes… I have yet to try it.) And thus my love of asparagus was forever justified.

Penne, Roasted Asparagus & Balsamic Butter
via stephanie’s cooking

1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 pound penne
1/4 pound butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Heat the oven to 400°. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer until 3 tablespoons remain. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat.
Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the butter, vinegar, asparagus, Parmesan, and the remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt. Serve with additional Parmesan.

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