Saturday, July 11, 2009

Asparagus Pasta with Toasted Pecans

1 (16-ounce) package penne pasta
1 bunch fresh asparagus (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and divided

Garnishes: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper

Prepare pasta according to package directions; rinse and drain.

Snap off tough ends of asparagus, and cut into 2-inch pieces.

Sauté asparagus in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 4 minutes. Stir in red bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Stir in salt and pepper.

Toss together pasta, asparagus mixture, basil, 1/2 cup cheese, butter, and 1/2 cup pecans. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 cup pecans. Garnish, if desired.

--Adapted from Southern Living magazine

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