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Penne With Potatoes And Asparagus

Sooooo yummy in spring, especially on those cooler days. Vegan if you omit the Parmesan.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion (2 to 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 lbs small waxy potatoes, cut in thick slices, then cut in half (4 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
  • ½ lbs penne pasta
  • 1 lbs asparagus, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • Several splashes balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ c fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put on a large pot of water to cook the pasta. Pour oil in a 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Put the onions and potatoes in the pan, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt, add the sprigs of thyme, and mix well to coat vegetables with oil. Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes (vegetables should be almost tender). While vegetables are roasting, cook the pasta until just tender, drain, and set aside (the timing should be such that your pasta will be cooked about the time you'll be adding it to the dish). Remove vegetables from the oven. Add the asparagus and the cooked pasta. Season with remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, several splashes balsamic vinegar, black pepper and the fresh basil. Toss carefully until vegetables and pasta are evenly mixed. Return to oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Bring steaming to the table and serve with the Parmesan cheese and more balsamic vinegar. Serves 6.

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