Roasted Asparagus Pasta

Roasted and char-grilled vegetables help make an attractive and delicious pasta dish.  Asparagus, tomatoes, and peppers are wonderful in this dish and can be roasted on one pan in the oven.  If you have any vegetables that need to be used up, this is a good way to eat them--just roast and char-grill (broil) them as well.  This dish has a subtle lemon flavor that is softened by a small amount of raw honey or real maple syrup.   Use high fiber pasta and make the dish your own by adding your choice of cheese.  This is a great pasta to make with your kids after going to a farmers' market.  Let them help decide which vegetables to use in it.
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1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces 1 red or orange bell pepper, cut into one-inch pieces 1 - 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half  (optional - use in season) 7 oz (about 4 cups cooked) rigatoni or penne 1 tsp grated lemon zest 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp raw honey or real maple syrup salt to taste 2 - 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped freshly grated Romano cheese or crumbled feta or goat cheese


1) Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and, if they're thick, peel them by laying each spear on a flat surface and giving it a few quick strokes with a vegetable peeler.
2) To roast, place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil or spray with an oil mister, and then toss to coat the asparagus completely.  Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.  Roast the spears at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until tender, but still crisp and bright green.
3) After 5 to 6 minutes, add cut peppers and tomatoes (already salted and coated with a little olive oil) to the pan along with the asparagus.  Continue roasting or begin to broil vegetables until char-grilled but still tender.
4) While vegetables are roasting, cook pasta by the package directions.  Mix lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, raw honey or real maple syrup and salt and toss with drained pasta (while still hot) and basil.  Toss roasted vegetables with the pasta, and add cheese just prior to serving.