California Central Coast Recipes

A to Z Pasta with Balsamic Butter

When fresh Asparagus comes on the market in early spring, this is a quick unusual recipe to throw together that has a very unique taste ---and it's very healthy too.

You can serve it as pasta entree or as a side dish.

Don't worry about the cost of the Balsamic vinegar. Just use any ordinary low-cost one that any grocery store carries, because you add other ingredients to the vinegar that will give it a full-bodied flavor. ©2018, A to Z Pasta with Balsamic Butter
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
re-calculate ingredients for:


2 pounds Asparagus
1 pound Ziti
2 to 3 T. Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoons salt
Several grinds black peppercorns
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter , cut into chunks
1 cup Parmesan cheese , grated, plus additional for the table

Preparation Directions.

1 Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2 Cut off the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut each of the asparagus spears into pieces the same size as the pasta and place in bowl.

3 Toss the asparagus with olive oil and then spread it out in the bottom of a baking sheet or pan. Sprinkle with a half teaspoon salt and a few grinds black peppercorns. Roast until tender ---about ten to fifteen minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus.

4 While the asparagus is roasting, put the balsamic vinegar into a large nonreactive saucepan and simmer over medium heat to reduce the volume by one third.

5 Mix in the brown sugar and chunks of butter and a few grinds of black peppercorns, stir then remove from heat. Taste, and correct the sweet-sour taste to personal taste.

6 In the meantime, cook the ziti in a large pot of salted water until al dente or according to package.

7 Drain the pasta and toss with the vinegar-butter mixture and the roasted asparagus, and Parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste.

8 Serve with additional Parmesan at the table for topping.

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

Wine suggestion: A crisp white wine such as a Fumeí Banc or Chardonnay works well with this.

A tip from Sue!

Use A Pasta Pot for Pasta

If you like pasta and are planning on having it often, I recommend getting a pasta pot.

After trying different sets, the best one Iíve found was the original, least expensive one. Itís a stainless steel pot with separate built-in pasta basket. It also comes with a vegetable steamer. Something like it is available on the Internet for about $40.00. and at several local supermarkets as low as $30.00.

You donít need to have a real heavy pan---otherwise youíre going to waste all your time heating the pan instead of getting it to boil quickly. Don't worry about hot spots since all youíre going to be doing with it is boiling water.