I had a “didn’t read the label” moment earlier this week. I had a sore in my mouth (TMI) and I wanted to buy a gel I used to use at my parents’ house, one that sort of creates a film over the sore to let it heal. Publix had a nice selection of products, and since I couldn’t remember what the stuff was called, I bought Orajel.
Spoiler alert: Orajel is NOT what I was looking for (that stuff, it transpires, is probably by prescription). Also, when it says “pain relief” on the box, what it means is “numbing,” which meant that I applied it and 30 seconds later tried to spit it out because the tip of my tongue was numb. And then (because I tried to spit it out) part of my lips went numb, and part of the side of my face, and… you know that emoticon with the huge round eyes and freaked out face like O.o meets D: ? That was me. I spent ten minutes talking myself down—literally talking, out loud, I was alone in the house—and another ten distracting myself by taking photos for this recipe.
Which is delicious. Asparagus is another veggie that is, to my mind, immensely improved by roasting. It becomes almost sweet when charred, which contrasts nicely with tangy, creamy goat cheese. I used a garlic-herb goat cheese, but plain will do just as well. There are three separate parts to this recipe, but it’s quite simple for all that and very quick, with a no-fuss butter-olive oil-white wine sauce. The longest part is roasting the asparagus, and even that is pretty hands-off. It makes a fabulous weeknight dinner, likely with leftovers!
Robby recommends: A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Asparagus clashes weirdly with most wines, but these wines characteristically have prominent notes of green pepper and similar flavors, which will complement rather than muddle the pasta flavors.
[Adapted from How Sweet Eats.]
A marriage of savory and tangy, toothsome and smooth. Goat cheese makes this pasta light but rich; charred asparagus adds a great savory flavor.
1 pound asparagus
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
12 oz. dry bowtie or other pasta
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
3 tablespoons chopped basil or other fresh herb
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 oz. goat cheese, softened
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and cut the rest into 1-inch pieces; place on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, Cajun seasoning, and garlic powder. Cut the lemons in half and add to the baking sheet.
Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or so. (You want the asparagus to be nice and charred all over; that might take a bit longer based on how thick your asparagus stalks are.)
While the asparagus is roasting, boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter together with the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the wine and let simmer for about two minutes, just enough to cook off the alcohol.
Turn off the heat and stir in the herbs, pepper, and goat cheese. Add salt and additional pepper to taste. You can also squeeze in a lemon half for extra tang.
Toss the pasta and asparagus with the sauce. Serve with perfectly squeezable lemon halves on the side.
A riff on this awesome recipe from How Sweet Eats!