The entire side dish can be yours in less than 15 minutes.

May 29, 2020
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We're all about balance here at EatingWell. Some days, we'll go for a slice of delivery deep dish. Others, we'll whip up a fresh cauliflower crust pizza. We'll alternate cocktails and mocktails come happy hour 'o clock (or virtual happy hour time). Certain nights, we power up with a plate of pasta. Then the next day, we crave a piled-high entree salad.

That's why we are all about Ina Garten's latest pandemic culinary creation—right on the heels of her amply portioned cosmos and her mac and cheese that both almost broke the internet—it is the epitome of nutritional balance. Introducing: Cacio e Pepe Roasted Asparagus.

The quick and easy vegetable side dish takes the flavors of the traditional Italian pasta—including a bit of butter, some salty cheese, lemon and black pepper. Instead of tossed with bucatini or spaghetti, though, she tosses those luscious, complementary toppings with peak-season asparagus. And the kicker is that it takes just 15 minutes or so.

We did the math and each serving of her Cacio e Pepe Roasted Asparagus has about 105 calories, 7 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs (including 4 grams of fiber) and 5 grams of protein. It also counts as one of your vegetable servings and offers a solid dose of vitamin D and iron.

With a nice blend of salty, earthy and nutty flavors and just a hint of richness, we'll have this side dish on repeat all asparagus season long. (Psst...it usually runs through the end of June, so we recommend that you hurry and get your fix fast!)

Ina Garden's Cacio e Pepe Roasted Asparagus

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds thick asparagus spears

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Italian pecorino cheese

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese

  • 1 lemon, quartered

  • Fleur de sel

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.

  2. Place 12 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot, cover and bring to a boil. Remove and discard 1½ inches from the woody ends of the asparagus. Peel the bottom 2 inches of each spear with a vegetable peeler.

  3. Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus and blanch for 3 to 4 minutes, until al dente. Drain.

  4. Transfer the asparagus to a 10 x 12-inch rectangular baking dish (such as this Pyrex Lidded Glass Bakeware; $14.21, target.com). Add the butter, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss to coat the asparagus.

  5. Arrange the asparagus decoratively in the dish, sprinkle with the pecorino and Parmesan and roast for 5 minutes, until the cheese melts.

  6. Squeeze on some lemon juice, sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve hot.