All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Asupara no penne, gorugonzoora soosu / penne pasta with asparagus, gorgonzola sauce

A great pasta dish to finish up the tough lower part of asparagus spears. Have a nice crusty bread ready to finish up the sauce! Adapted from Pasta Vegetale by Hiroyuki Isaki.

With 80 g penne per serving:
569 calories (1/2 of recipe); 17.0 g protein; 25.2 g fat; 62.2 g carbohydrate; 58.5 g net carbs; 353 mg sodium; 77 mg cholesterol; 3.7 g fiber


160-180 g penne (160 g in photo)
1/2 tbsp salt (to boil penne; not in photo)

160-180 g asparagus (178 g in photo)
1/2 tsp olive oil (to saute asparagus skin; not in photo)
100 cc vegetable stock
2 tbsp white wine

20 g unsalted butter
4 tbsp heavy cream
30-35 g gorgonzola cheese (34 g in photo)

Pink peppercorns (not in photo; optional)

Start boiling plenty of water for penne.


Skin asparagus.
Diagonally cut spears into 3 cm (if thick, first cut lengthwise in half).


In a small pot or frying pan, heat olive oil, and saute asparagus skin on medium heat.
When color brightens, add white wine, and bring to boil.
Add vegetable stock, and simmer for a few minutes until skin is very tender. 



When water boils, add salt, and cook penne.

Check the pasta package for cooking time.
Here, the package gives 12 minutes as the cooking time, with 10 minutes for al dente; start checking the texture after 9-10 minutes.


In a frying pan, add butter, melt, and add heavy cream.

Add gorgonzola cheese, and melt on low heat while crumbling with spatula.

Strain asparagus skin.

Press skin with spatula or spoon to get most of the tender part, and mix well.
Discard fibrous part.


Add asparagus to penne pot one minute before penne is done.

When done, drain well, and add to gorgonzola sauce.
Mix well.

Serve, topped with pink peppercorns (optional).

  • Using about the same amount (by weight) of asparagus as pasta prevents the dish from becoming heavy.
  • When entire asparagus spears (especially bright green tips) are used, the sauce takes on a soft green hue. Very pretty.
  • Make sure to use weak stock to cook asparagus skin. The stock's taste easily comes through in the final dish. Above I used a nearly sodium-free homemade vegetable stock made with konbu kelp and vegetable scraps (photo at right).
  • If more salt seems necessary when tasting at the end, try mixing in some grated parmesan cheese instead.
  • As for the fiber content, the actual number is likely lower than the above figure, as the fibrous part of asparagus skin is discarded.
  • The heavy cream above is 36% heavy whipping cream. Whole milk or thick soy milk should work fine too if something lighter is desired.

(Last updated: April 16, 2014)

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