hot asparagus and red potato salad revisited as a pasta sauce

Yes, we like pasta. But we have to admit that a large factor behind it so often is its flexibility. Fridge/pantry-excavation pasta sauces don't require advance planning. This time the star player was a nice bunch of asparagus. Risotto would have been a good move but we'd done that the night before. Soup would have been another, but under after-work primal-feeding-urge influences, soup seemed like a long term goal.

Happy memories off the hot asparagus and red potato salad suggested a spontaneous conversion. Well, not entirely spontaneous—we did stop along the road home for some red potatoes—but not even a block out of our way. The cannelloni were volunteered as a stand-in for the missing meat/fish item. Another vegetarian by default night.


5 small red potatoes
1 lb thin asparagus
2 T olive oil
1 leek, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed
2 small zucchini, chopped small
2 small yellow squash, chopped small
2 t balsamic vinegar
2 t Dijon mustard
1/2 c reserved asparagus water
1 19oz can (540g) cannelloni
1/2 c light cream
1 t salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 c parmigiano
1 lb farfalle (butterfly pasta)


  1. So bob took the lead here with the creative development. The potatoes were started boiling after cleaning and chopping to half inch cube equivalent chunks and the asparagus were cleaned and mounted in their vertical pot, both for about a 10 minute boiling run, while the pasta water was started.
  2. Pressing the garlic in the olive oil and throwing in the chopped leek started the sauté phase,
  3. followed by the kitchen helpers chopped squash add-in, previously prepared. Softening the squash about 5 minutes without burning it,
  4. a few shakes of vinegar and the mustard join forces and then some of the asparagus water to loosen things up again.
  5. Meanwhile the asparagus is done and requires chopping into 5/8 inch pieces (no rulers needed) reserving the tips for the final assembly.
  6. Incorporate the drained potatoes, the asparagus pieces, some more asparagus water, the cannelloni, and continue heating.
  7. Near the pasta al dente drain time, add the cream and salt and pepper.
  8. Finally add the drained pasta, the reserved asparagus tips, the cheese, and mix it up well.


  1. Then the moment of truth. These experiments, although always ingestible, don't always beg to be immortalized in print. And was that a few too many shakes of the balsamic vinegar? Drum role. The first bite goes down. YES! A big success. But those folks who only buy the tomato-based ready-to-eat-just-heat sauces in a jar—they'll never understand.
  2. We had to add the word "only" since we're occasionally guilty of picking up jars too. But to their defense, quality has improved drastically in some of the new offerings inspired by an elevated interest in more authentic Italian food products than the market used to offer.
asprpps.htm: 7-aug-2001 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]