This week I was craving balsamic vinegar. For me, this craving comes and goes every couple of months. I attribute it to my time spent in Rome. I was OBSESSED with the stuff while I was there. I wouldn’t go a day without it (this also applied to Nutella but I will save that love affair for another time).

After returning to Colorado, my favorite meal became tearing into a loaf of French bread and dousing it in balsamic vinegar… Super healthy, I know. Though I am pretty sure this love of balsamic is how I hooked my hubby. I remember when we first met we would hole ourselves up in my bedroom a few nights a week with a loaf of bread, some vinegar, and a movie. Yep, I’m a cheap date. 🙂

I suppose now that I am older and approaching my late 20s at an alarming rate (yikes!), I should really put some level of effort into my cooking. A loaf of French bread and some balsamic vinegar just doesn’t cut it anymore. Plus my metabolism has already started slowing (not that it was fast to begin with), so disaster can only come of that dinner choice.

Despite knowing that carbs are a bad choice, where do I turn first? Pasta. It’s not like pasta and bread are related right? Nope, not a bit.

Now that we’ve cleared that up…

I randomly found this recipe on Pinterest (yes, I love Pinterest. I can’t help it, it’s a Mecca for a recipe hoarder like myself!). It was a lot sweeter than I anticipated but with a hit of salt, it was the best way to relieve my craving. I proved this by the two bowls I downed Monday night… Don’t judge me…

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter (adapted from Food & Wine )

Ingredients

1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 teaspoon brown sugar

1 pound penne

1/4 pound butter, cut into small pieces

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add the asparagus to a rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast for about 10 minutes, until tender.

Add the vinegar in a small saucepan over low-meduim heat. Simmer until it reduces and approximately 3 to 4 tablespoons remain. Stir in the brown sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat.

Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just done. Drain the pasta and toss with the butter, vinegar, asparagus, Parmesan, and the remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt. Serve and top with additional Parmesan if desired.