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Asparagus Penne with Almonds and Browned Butter

Meryl Downing
This simple pasta is a great vegetarian option for busy weeknights, with only 7 ingredients!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 1 lb Penne Rigante (small penne)
  • 3 T butter
  • ½ c whole raw almonds roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ t kosher salt
  • 8 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 1 lb asparagus ends trimmed, spears cut in thirds on a bias
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional, fresh sage, or thyme could substitute)
  • ½ c Parmesan cheese grated (plus more for topping)


  • Bring water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and add pasta, cook following package instructions (mine was 7 minutes). Add asparagus for the last 3 minutes of the pasta cooking and let them finish cooking together. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining (dipping in a coffee mug works great!).
  • Meanwhile, in the time it takes to cook the pasta, make the sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium low heat and melt butter. When butter starts to bubble and slightly brown (but not burn) add almonds and garlic and toss.
  • Season with salt and pepper and continue to stir butter mixture so it does not burn. Add rosemary
  • Drain pasta and asparagus and add to the butter mixture. Add in the reserved pasta water a 1/4 cup at a time to the sauce if needed. Mix well, adding grated Parmesan as you go.
  • Served topped with extra Parmesan, and continue adding the reserved pasta water if the pasta gets dry.
Keyword Simple Pasta, weeknight pasta