Asparagus and Brie Baked Ziti (Well, Rigatoni)

 

I’ve been dreaming of this for months. Finally, I found some decent asparagus. For this recipe, I used 50% whole wheat rigatoni, which worked nicely. I do not recommend using 100% whole wheat, as the the flavor would become dominant. Oh, and it came out every bit as good as I imagined…!

1 500gm/16 0z package pasta (rigatoni, ziti, or penne), cooked until almost tender.
2 large bunches of fresh asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces (discard bottom inch or two)
5 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
600 gm / 1.3 lbs Brie, Camembert, or combination
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large frying pan, skillet, or wok, toss cut asparagus with 1 tbs olive oil over high heat. Add garlic, a pinch of coarse salt, and a healthy amount of black pepper (to taste). Remove asparagus when it turns bright green.

Cut five or six nice wedges of cheese, and set them aside. Cut the remaining cheese into cubes. Mix the pasta, cheese, and asparagus, and 1 tbs butter, and pour into a greased casserole.

Distribute reserved cheese wedges over top of dish, drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil, and distribute the remaining tbs butter over the top as well, along with a little freshly ground black pepper.

Cover, and bake, covered, in a 350F oven for about 30 min. Uncover, and bake about 10-15 min more, until it’s very lightly browned on top.

Enjoy!

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