Penne with Asparagus


This lovely pasta recipe reminds us that spring is just around the corner, when local asparagus becomes available. For the freshest flavor, choose a simple tomato sauce–one flavored with onion and garlic and not too much else. If you prefer a nondairy dish, replace the half-and-half with soy milk.

MEAL PLAN: Serve with crusty Italian or French bread to mop up the sauce. Also make a simple salad, pairing a mild lettuce with a spicy green like arugula.

  • servingServings


  • 8 oz. penne or ziti
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cups prepared tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half or plain soy milk
  • 2 lbs. thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper


  1. Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta; stir to prevent sticking. Cook pasta until just tender according to package directions, about 10 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce and half-and-half, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and tarragon and reduce heat to low. Partially cover and cook until asparagus are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Add pasta to asparagus mixture along with salt and pepper. Toss until well coated. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 4 servings
  • Calories: 255
  • Carbohydrate Content: 38 g
  • Cholesterol Content: 15 mg
  • Fat Content: 9 g
  • Fiber Content: 7 g
  • Protein Content: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 4 g
  • Sodium Content: 30 mg