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. ©2017, 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 Fume’ Banc or Chardonnay works well with this.

A tip from Sue!

Frying fish is not hard

Frying fish is not hard. The trick is to evenly coat the fish and allow the coating to set and dry a bit before frying. The purpose of the coating is to keep moisture in NOT absorb oil! To minimize oil absorption fry at a temperature between 350F and 400F max