Asparagus, Three Ways

Asparagus is super-yummy just tossed in a little oil and salt and roasted at high heat in the oven. But if you’re looking for a little variety, here are a few ways to dress it up:

With Brown Butter and Lemon

This one isn’t too terribly interesting. It’s basically just adding some lemon juice and herbs to your pan-roasted asparagus.

After the asparagus is done, remove it to a dish. Put a tablespoon of butter in the roasting pan and return it to the oven for a minute to brown it. Add some lemon juice, lemon zest and whatever chopped fresh herbs you have around. Put it back in the oven for just 30 seconds or so, then pour over your asparagus.

With Pancetta, Leeks & Pine Nuts

The original blogger I got this one from calls it Absurdly Addictive Asparagus. It is pretty darn delicious, but only after I made a few modifications to decrease the total fat and punch up the flavor. What makes it so unique is all the leeks – they don’t give it onion flavor, but rather they give it a mouth feel of something carby …

4 oz pancetta (Trader Joe’s conveniently sells a 4-oz package of diced pancetta – but you could also use bacon) (85 cal/5g protein per 1-oz serving)
1T butter
1 lb asparagus, sliced into pieces an inch or two long
1c leeks, sliced (make sure you rinse the rings after you slice them, to remove any bits of dirt)
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon orange zest
2T toasted pine nuts
1T italian parsley
a couple tablespoons of fruit juice
2T cotija cheese (parmesan would also work, maybe even feta) (50 cal per tablespoon)

Cook the pancetta in a saute pan until it’s browned and getting crispy; remove it to a dish.

Add the butter, asparagus and leeks and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the seasonings and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

Taste and season as necessary. If it’s a little dry, sprinkle in some fruit juice.

Top with the crumbled cheese and serve.

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