My first farm share delivery two years ago put me in a mild state of shock. What on earth was I going to do with all of those vegetables? I scoured the internet for veggie-heavy recipes and came across what has since become one of my favorite food blogs, Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. She lives and blogs in San Francisco and is known for cooking with local, fresh ingredients. Her recipes are simple and she uses flavor combinations that I would never think of, plus you can search her blog for recipes based on ingredients which I think is incredible convenient. When I found myself with an overabundance of kale, she was there for me. When I was sick of guacamole she helped me out with a few excellent alternative uses for avocados. And when I had more tomatoes than I could ever know what to do with at the end of the summer, I turned to her blog to find ways that I had never seen tomatoes used before. Her baked good recipes aren’t too shabby either. Flourless cookies, brownies made with black beans, vegan chocolate mousse… Plus her photography is absolutely beautiful. Oh, to be a guest in her kitchen! When I recently had a refrigerator full of fresh asparagus spears I turned to her blog yet again. Her Orzo Super Salad recipe served as my inspiration for this dish. It was one of those week nights where I wanted to chill in my backyard and enjoy one of the first warm days of the year, rather than brave the masses at the grocery store. I used what I had in the kitchen and the results were a very happy surprise.
1 box Penne Pasta
1 lb fresh Asparagus Spears, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4c Toasted Almond slices
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/4c chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/2c Feta Cheese
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and Pepper
Enough Olive Oil to lightly coat the pasta
To make this pasta salad, simply toss the chopped asparagus spears in with the boiling pasta during the last two minutes of cooking. Then toss the seasonings with the freshly cooked pasta and asparagus and enjoy! I served this with a slice of toasted multi-grain baguette.