Day 137, 157 of staying in. I hope you haven’t found yourself in a rut. I can tell you, I cannot type as I have mistyped every. single. word. up to this point.
The recipe I’m bringing today goes waaaaaaay waaaaaaaay back. Way back to the mid-90’s (ish) in Winston-Salem, NC, well before the city was known for its food scene but still had a few commendable restaurants and a couple of ever so new and trendy coffee shops.
My favorite restaurant at the time was a place called The Maze. It was in Reynolda Village and I loved eating there on my evening break when I worked at WXII. If I remember correctly, it was very vegetarian heavy (not that I am one) and I just loved this creamy penne pasta dish with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes that was topped with crumbled feta. It was creamy, tangy, and savory and the shining star was the sun-dried tomatoes, which I’d never even heard of at the time. We’ve come a long way baby.
Well, The Maze has long since closed but I think I’ve copied it well enough. Up until this week, I hadn’t made it in forever and thought I’d share it with you. This dish makes an excellent main meatless course, but I also like it as a side. And if you want to add shrimp or chicken for protein, it will not disappoint. Any pasta would do but the original was presented with penne and it’s pretty perfect for it. (If you look closely, you’ll say I don’t have penne here, rather a similar pasta plus another pasta with no ridges because I was using what I had and I refused to go back out just for one thing).
Asparagus & Sun-dried Tomato Pasta w/ Feta
1 lb penne pasta or similar, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
1 bunch asparagus, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (either in oil or dried but reconstituted)
1/2 cup fresh feta, crumbled
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs. oil of choice
salt/pepper to taste
As the water boils and pasta cooks, heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes until soft and beginning to caramelize. Add asparagus and cook 5-8 minutes over medium heat until the asparagus is beginning to get tender, but do not let it get mushy. Toss in the tomatoes and stir. Once the pasta is completed, add 1 cup of the pasta water to the mixture. Add the cream and stir until thickened and just slightly creamy but not swimming in it. Add the pasta and mix well, adding a splash of cream if you think it needs it. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the feta, then top with a bit more before serving.