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An easy and delicious spring or summer pasta dish. For a richer dish, I add diced and browned pancetta (Italian bacon) that has been drained of any additional fat (paper towels work well). This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated.
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound campanelle
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off, spears halved lengthwise if larger than 1/2 inch in diameter, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 medium-large red onion, halved and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, shaved (about 1 cup)
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the stockpot.
- Immediately after putting the pasta in the boiling water, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium and simmer slowly until reduced to 1/4 cup, 15 to 20 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking and the balsamic vinegar is reducing, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the asparagus, onion, black pepper, pepper flakes, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cook, without stirring, until the asparagus begins to brown, about 1 minute, then stir and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes longer.
- Add the asparagus mixture, basil, lemon juice, (pancetta if using), 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano and remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the pasta in the stockpot and toss to combine. Serve immediately, drizzling 1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic glaze over individual servings and passing the remaining Parmigiano separately.