Try this quick pasta dish on a savory Sunday

Pasta with Asparagus and Balsamic Reduction with some shredded Parmesan on top, for good measure. — Connie Berry

If you’ve tried any of my recipes, you already know I like my food to stand up and say hello. My Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Reduction fits right in. As usual, I got the recipe someplace online and made it my own. I love doing that.

I’ve been making this dish for a few years now, sprung out of one of those fall weekends when you feel like cooking on a late Sunday afternoon and the asparagus at the grocery store still looks OK.

This one is also good for your vegetarian friends, good warmed up for lunch, and good to keep in your back pocket when you want to bring something easy and tasty to your neighbor’s potluck.

Don’t worry, the balsamic is going to make your pasta appear a sort of dirty blonde color, but try it anyway. Also, that stick of butter: If it makes you feel icky inside, use half a stick. I never have, but I’m sure it’s OK.

Pasta with Asparagus and Balsamic Reduction

1 stick butter, cut into 8 pieces
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces, bottoms trimmed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. box penne pasta
½ cup shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese
Cut a stick of butter into eight equal pieces. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Over medium heat in a small saucepan, cook a good half-cup of balsamic vinegar with a tablespoon of brown sugar until it reduces to a little less than half, and starts getting thick; then take it off the heat. This takes about 15 minutes.

While the vinegar is reducing, chop fresh asparagus into one-inch pieces; cut the tougher ends off first. Toss with olive oil to coat and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 425° oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

While asparagus is roasting, put on a large pot of salted water to boil. Put the penne in when the water’s rolling. Cook pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and put it back into the pasta pot, add the butter, roasted asparagus, and balsamic. Add a half-cup of Asiago or Parmesan and toss. Put a good-size portion on your plate. Eat.