Thursday, January 10, 2008

Penne and Roasted Asparagus with Orange Gremolata

So, what can I say? I liked the way the word gremolata sounds when you say it out loud. Thus, I was forced to try this recipe out this past weekend. GRRRREMOLAAATA. *growr* See, doesn't it sound sexy when somebody up and throws it on you suddenly like that? *purring*

I don't know who decided to call it gremolata, when really it could be called "pasta sauce" or "weird pesto" or something, but I like it.

Anyways, the recipe's simple. Hence it being in the Quick-Fix Vegetarian cookbook. But I must admit: I wasn't as blown away by it as I'd hoped. I heart asparagus. And I like zesty zest. I also like orange-flavored pasta. But for some reason, the dish ended up tasting bitter. And I think the orange zest was too blame. As I am not a master chef, I suspect that maybe I am zesting away too far into the skin of the orange or something, and perhaps THAT'S what produces the bitterness? I don't know. But it was bitter.

Thankfully, upon reheating this week, the bitterness seemed to dissipate a bit. And I decided to spice the dish up with vegan parmesan, which I actually would recommend adding in as part of the recipe. Not as optional, but as an ingredient. Because it really does a nice job of complementing the orange-flavor. And it seemed to kick the ass of some of the bitterness.


Seriously: if nothing else, it's worth trying the damn recipe out so you can purr that sexily into somebody's ear when you set a nice, warm plate of this down in front of them. Just make sure your bosom is slightly cleaved when you lean in to do your whispering. Because that's how we of the Gremolata Posse ROLLLLLLLL, babies.


  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, cut diagonally into 1-1/2 inch pieces

  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

  • 1 lb. penne pasta

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley

  • Grated zest of 2 oranges

  • 3 T. minced scallions

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Vegan parmesan, to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until just tender, about 8 minutes.

While asparagus roasts, cook the penne in salted boiling water until al dente, about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, parsley, orange zest and scallions to create the gremolata. Set aside.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle the gremolata and 1/4 cup olive oil onto the asparagus, stirring gently to combine. Add the asparagus and gremolata-infused oil to the pasta and toss gently.

Serve immediately, topped with a generous sprinkle of vegan parmesan.

Bon appetit!

(from Quick-Fix Vegetarian, recipe republished in VegNews)

No comments: