A simple butter roasted asparagus pasta salad, tossed with sun dried tomatoes, fresh lemon, and parmesan. A delightful cold pasta salad that everyone will love!
One of the best things about summer, and trust me, for me they are few, is the better price and freshness of asparagus. When I first met John.e, he wasn’t a fan of asparagus at all. I was able to convince him to give it another try. Now, he’s quite fond of it.
This pasta salad was an idea I had one Sunday morning while sipping my coffee and watching reruns of Will & Grace. (That used to be a Sunday morning ritual; I can’t wait until the new shows start up again!) I knew I had some asparagus in the refrigerator, and that John.e would need something to take to work for lunch on Monday.
I knew this pasta salad would be just as fresh on Monday as it was on Sunday morning when I prepared it. The lemon juice not only adds a lot of flavour, but helps to keep the asparagus a bright green colour.
Asparagus season is so short, so I try my best to get my fill of it before the season ends. There’s nothing more gratifying than purchasing in-season produce as a great price. Even though asparagus is available year-round, it can be quite expensive except for during the month of June or even early July when asparagus is cheap, abundant, and at its best.
As I previously mentioned, this pasta salad is a great dish to make ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator. The fact that you’re adding the fresh lemon zest and lemon juice to this recipe helps to keep the asparagus a bright green colour with a great fresh taste.
The flavour profile of this pasta salad screams summer. You’ve got the fresh asparagus that’s been roasted in butter and olive oil, the saltiness of the sun dried tomatoes, the freshness of the lemon zest and juice, the bright flavours of the green onions, and of course, the addition of the grated parmesan cheese – which, let’s be honest, makes everything better!
- 1 bunch of fresh asparagus (about 20-24 spears)
- 6 cups cooked bow tie pasta
- 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- ½ cup green onions, sliced
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons oil (from the jar of sun dried tomatoes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash and chop the asparagus into one-inch pieces. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet. Dot the asparagus with the butter. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta in salted water. Cool the pasta completely by running under cold water. This helps to remove the starch from the pasta.
- Add the cooled pasta and asparagus to a large bowl. Add the sun dried tomatoes, the oil from the sun dried tomatoes, the green onions, parmesan, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and the oil/butter mixture from the baking sheet. (Use a rubber spatula to scrape the oil and butter from the baking sheet into the bowl.) Toss all of these ingredients together. Season with more salt and pepper to suit your tastes.
- Pile the pasta salad into a large serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds, parsley, and more parmesan if you wish. Serve.
- Pasta can be stored in air-tight containers in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Originally Published: June 7, 2015
Post Updated: August 14, 2017