For a wonderful warm, cheesy summer salad why not try this Penne with Asparagus Carbonara.

Your family and friends will rave about it, I PROMISE!

Penne (PEN-nay) is Italian for pen or quill and used to describe short-to medium-length straight tubes (ridged or smooth) of pasta with diagonally cut ends. Use the ridged ones for this recipe so the warm cheese sauce will cling more to the pasta.

Carbonara (kar-boh-NAH-rah) is an Italian dish of pasta, usually spaghetti, with a sauce of eggs, cream, Parmesan and bits of cooked bacon.

To begin, cut off asparagus tips and slice stalks diagonally into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside.

Penne with Asparagus Carbonara

Serves: 6

  • 1 lb. asparagus, woody ends snapped off
  • 3/4 lb. dried penne pasta
  • 4 oz. slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, then into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook penne until al denta (a slight resistance when one bites into it), about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in another large pot of boiling salted water, cook asparagus tips and stalks until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a heavy skillet, cook bacon in olive oil on medium-high heat until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks.

Add 2 tbsp. of the cheese and the butter.

Drain penne, add to egg mixture and mix well. Add 1 cup of the cheese, toss to coat.

Add the crisp bacon and toss to coat.

Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

EASY HUH? I guarantee this recipe will be a keeper.

Sometimes I just make this salad as a meal and any leftovers are delicious re-heated. ENJOY!