Remember a couple of weeks ago when I made that seemingly difficult but really quite simple balsamic reduction and then totally forgot to serve it with my meal? Right. I put it in a jar and put it in the pantry. Probably a major cooking foul, but considering that the recipe came under the header of “pantry”, I went with it. Anyway, that, and the two bunches of asparagus from our produce basket, was the only reason that I chose to make campanelle with asparagus, basil, and balsamic glaze (The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, page 179) on Monday night. The balsamic reduction made the dish.
My older kids were all about “the sauce”. What is this sauce? Have we had this sauce before? I hated to tell them that it was just inexpensive balsamic vinegar boiled down for about 15 minutes. Do you need a new party trick? This is it, people. The sauce is the business.
For those of you who do not have The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook (and by that I mean all of you newcomers because I know those of you who have been reading for the long haul have already broken down and purchased this outstanding cookbook), campanelle with asparagus, basil, and balsamic glaze is a simple vegetarian recipe. While you cook up your pasta (in my case, rotini because I could not find campanelle), you sauté a bit of red onion and asparagus in olive oil with a bit of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. If you don’t already have balsamic glaze in your pantry (right? who does?) this recipe tells you how to make your very own. After your asparagus is nice and toasty and your pasta is ready, the vegetables are combined with the pasta plus a bit of pecorino, pasta water, and a big pile of fresh basil. What’s not to like? Drizzle a bit of balsamic glaze (aka “the sauce”) over the top and serve with your favorite protein. Simple, flavorful, satisfying supper.
I'll be honest. I'm slightly embarrassed to even be writing a review of something this easy on the internet. Make it, please. But don't tell anyone that I told you too.