Last Saturday at Farmers’ Market I got a bunch of asparagus, not really having any idea what I was going to serve it with. Then when I did my grocery shopping for the week, I didn’t get any fresh meat, planning to try to use some of the things I had in the freezer.
So the other night I decided we had better have the asparagus while it was still fresh, but didn’t have any thawed meat to go with it as an entrée. So I got out my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook to see what kind of asparagus recipes I could find. I found one that sounded pretty good, but I didn’t quite have all the right ingredients.
But that’s exactly what I love about cooking (as opposed to baking); you can always make a substitution or two and still end up with a good recipe. I looked in my cupboards and refrigerator to see what I had that could make this recipe work, and this is what I came up with. I will also indicate what the original recipe called for so you can see what I substituted.
I also love to experiment with herbs and spices, and although this recipe only called for salt and black pepper to be added at the end, I added a new combination herb / spice that I bought at the grocery store a few weeks ago.
Now my son does not like asparagus, at least he didn’t the last time he tried it when I just boiled it and put butter on it. I didn’t think he would like this, but he said it was pretty good and he even ate some of the asparagus. I don’t think it will ever be his favorite dinner as it’s a far cry from Rice Stuff and lasagna, but he ate it and that was all I was hoping for.
1 pound fresh asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp ground Rosemary Garlic blend
½ pound or less of sliced deli ham
1 can Redi-cut tomatoes
8 oz. linguine pasta
Boil linguine according to package directions. Drain and set aside; keep warm. Snap woody bottoms off asparagus spears and cut into 1-inch pieces. Slice deli ham the short direction into thin strips.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil. Stir fry asparagus for 4 minutes, adding the rosemary garlic blend during this cooking time. (I actually started the asparagus when the pasta still had 4 minutes of cooking time remaining). Drain tomatoes, and add tomatoes and ham to the asparagus. Continue stir frying for another 2 or 3 minutes. Add cook pasta and stir or fold together. Serve with parmesan cheese on top.
What did I change?
First, the recipe called for fettuccine, which is wider than linguine. But I figured it was close enough. I would have used angel hair if that was all I had (which it usually is; linguine must have been on sale).
Second, the recipe called for using 4 sliced Roma tomatoes, but I didn’t have any. So I substituted the canned tomatoes.
Third, the recipe called for 3 oz. of prosciutto or cooked ham. I happened to have deli ham that I bought for lunch sandwiches on Sunday. It doesn’t sound as fancy as prosciutto, but it tasted awesome. And I put in more than 3 oz. because, well, my family likes meat.
Finally, I didn’t add any salt and pepper, just the rosemary garlic blend (which I think does have both salt and pepper in it).