In Portland, everybody seems to get a little excited about asparagus season.  Myself included.

Today’s cheap thrill challenge: learn to eat seasonally!  A big task.  We’ll start smaller.

Today’s cheap thrill challenge: Buy and eat asparagus.  $3 for a bunch at Whole Foods.  Go get some.

Now that you have asparagus, I’m going to do something I never, ever, ever do.  I’m going to give you a recipe for “Hooray Asparagus!” pasta.  A recipe that I made up all by myself.


Dan, I’ll give you a minute to regain consciousness.

The disclaimer here is that I’m not a chef… I’m not even a cook, really, but every once in a while, I improvise something pretty tasty.  If you know what you’re doing and you’d do the following differently, duh, do it.  This is just the way I did it.  But my way worked.  Just sayin. 🙂

Here we go with things you’ll need. Note the vague quantities. Perfection is unnecessary.:
Pasta (I never, ever get the kind of pasta recommended to me by a recipe.  So get whatever pasta you want.  Or use what you have.)
A smallish hunk of butter
Olive Oil
About 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch hunks
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 onion (any color), sliced
1/2 an eggplant, chopped
a little bit of spinach from your garden (optional)
Fresh mozzarella, in 1/2 inch pieces (cut the little balls in half) (does that sound awkward?)
Red Pepper Flakes if you’re into that sort of thing

To do:
Boil water. Cook pasta.

While that’s happening:
In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the eggplant until it starts to change color (brownish… takes a little while.  Don’t freak out.)  Set eggplant aside.

In the same skillet, heat the butter and another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add asparagus and onion to skillet, salt them, and cook everything for about 5 minutes or until it feels right. Add the bell pepper and the eggplant (and the spinach if you’re doing that) and cook about 5 minutes more. If your onions are nice onions and have started to caramelize, do a happy dance and remove from heat. If they’re still kinda oniony, cook it all a little longer. No harm done.

Once you’re off the heat, add the balsamic vinegar (about two quick circles around the pan’s worth) and mix the whole mess up. Combine pasta and veggies with some additional olive oil and, if you’re Favorite, some additional salt. Stir in your mozzarella (unless you’re Dan, or vegan) and your red pepper flakes (to taste, my friends, to taste).

Eat up! Celebrate asparagus! And the fact that I made something that wasn’t gross, and then you made it too!


  • Laura Thurston May 31, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I have always read that one needs to slice eggplant and salt it to draw out bitterness. You rinse and dry it after 1/2 hour, then use it. I always do it but if you didnt and it tasted as yummy as it looks, then I wont bother. Maybe the bitterness has been bred out of them!!
    Oh, wouldnt this be wonderful with the veggies roasted. Oh, I am drooling!!!!!

    • girlofcardigan May 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      I hadn’t heard that, but this worked fine… maybe it would be even better with the slicing and the salting! I’ll try it next time!

  • Dan June 1, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Looks delicious!!

  • Noel June 2, 2011 at 8:35 am

    It was really, really good! No joke. 🙂