Roasted Asparagus Penne with Balsamic Butter

I highly, highly recommend this meal! I am a meat eater. I love it. I love meat. However, I do try to incorporate vegetarian meals in my planning every other week. It seems like a healthy and right thing to do. 
A dish must be pretty fantastic and noteworthy for me to not really miss the meat. I can fake it, but usually, I am quite aware it isn’t there. This dish definitely made me forget about meat. 
I lightened it quite a bit by using a whole wheat penne, yogurt butter, olive oil spray, and reduced fat Parmesan. Oh my, it’s good! Asparagus was on sale in my neck of the woods too. You could also do roasted broccoli if you don’t like asparagus or it’s not in season.

Roasted Asparagus Penne with Balsamic Butter

(recipe inspired by a less healthier version found on Pinterest)


  • 1 lb asparagus
  • olive oil cooking spray (I use Great Value)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb whole wheat penne (I use Great Value)
  • 1/2 cup Brummel & Brown yogurt butter
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400. Wash the asparagus and snap the hard ends off. (Tip: Softly bend the asparagus spears towards the bottom, there will be a natural give against where the good part and the hard end meet and it will easily break off.) Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Spray with olive oil cooking spray about 5 times. Toss in spray and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

While that cooks, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer and reduce until 3 tablespoons remain. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Remove from heat. At the same time your pasta can be cooking. Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just done, about 11-13 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to pot. 
Toss the pasta with the butter, vinegar mixture, roasted asparagus, Parmesan, and remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons of salt. Top with the chopped green onion tops and additional Parmesan. 
Yields 7 servings of 1 1/4 cup portions. Each serving is 8 points. Serve with salad. I made a quick chopped salad with diced pears, sliced strawberries, romaine, and a light sesame salad dressing.

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