I found this recipe on FoodandWine.com through Pinterest and couldn't wait to try it out. Studying it more closely, I saw that I had some adapting to do. I already knew I wanted to add roasted butternut squash but then came the shock: it called for a whole stick of butter to make the balsamic sauce! Wide eyed and jaw dropped I knew that would not be the case in this kitchen tonight.
I decided to use only 1 tbsp. of butter to savor some of the rich flavor from the original recipe and add a few tablespoons of olive oil to compensate for the missing 7 tbsp. I had wanted to add toasted almond slivers to complete the taste of fall, but discovered I didn't have any in the pantry. I roasted the butternut squash in thyme and rosemary to add more dimension. This was a perfect weeknight meal, taking under 30 minutes to prepare. I hope you enjoy the rich, smooth tastes of this pasta dish as we did!
- 2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 3 tbsp. + 1 tsp., divided
- Pinch rosemary and thyme
- 1 cup butternut squash, small cubes
- 8 spears asparagus, chopped
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. brown sugar, unpacked
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp. shredded Parmesan (Parmeggiano Reggiano provides best flavor!)
Start by heating the oven to 450 degrees. Toss your butternut squash cubes in 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of rosemary and pinch of thyme. Set the timer for 20 minutes and place in the oven to begin roasting.
Boil your pasta in well-salted water until al dente, drain in a colander and set aside. Chop your asparagus, creating three pieces from the full stock and spear. Toss in 1 tsp. olive oil and after 10 minutes in the oven for the squash, add the asparagus to roast for the final 10 minutes.
In a small sauce pan, add the balsamic vinegar until reduced to about 3 tbsp. worth in the pan. Whisk in the brown sugar until dissolved, followed by the pepper. You can see below the line from the reduction...
In a microwavable bowl, melt the butter and add additional 2 tbsp. of olive oil. In a mixing bowl, combine the penne, roasted veggies, olive oil/butter mix and vinegar. Add 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese and gently toss altogether.
Spoon into bowls and you are ready to serve! Add a big salad for an additional helping of nutritious greens.
I used shredded Parmesan on hand to garnish