I’m writing this as we have snow on the ground, with more still falling, and it is feeling anything but spring-like. In fact, I’m making borscht for lunch it’s feeling that wintery. However I know not all of you are necessarily in the same position. Plus, I’m hopeful it’s going to warm up again soon – after all the weather has been flip-flopping the last few weeks. The poor spring flowers were getting all ready to pop out (a couple already had) and I’ve been breaking out a few more spring-like recipes. And getting in to asparagus again (like in my spring salad). It’s something I love, and this roasted asparagus with parmesan is far and away our favorite way to eat it – it even gets my toddler asking for more.
I first had roasted asparagus topped with parmesan a couple years ago when we were heading up to New Hampshire to go skiing for the weekend. We decided it might be easier to leave on the Friday night and have our then one year old sleep some of the way in the car. Since we don’t drive regularly, doing a car journey over about 20 minutes was always tough with him unless it aligned with when he was due to sleep! We stopped for dinner on the way and pretty much accidentally stumbled across this great Italian restaurant and deli that made all their own pastas and had an all-round fantastic menu. I got a lovely ravioli dish but also some roasted asparagus as a side. It as so good, I wondered why I had never cooked it that way myself. With so little extra work the flavor becomes amazing.
How it’s made
All you do is break off the ends of the asparagus, toss them in salt, pepper and olive oil and roast them for around 20 minutes. When they are almost done, grate a bit of parmesan over the asparagus and put it back in for the last couple minutes. You can put the asparagus on at the start but it seems to disappear to nothing and I think you need around three times as much to feel like you have any. You get a nice mix of some stringy, some slightly crisp cheese but the flavor everything adds to the asparagus is so good.
Tips for preparing asparagus
I would recommend you have nice fresh asparagus for this as if it’s a bit past its best, it’s more likely to go a little tough and not stay as nice a color. Also while it may not leave such a clean end, I like to snap the ends off the asparagus (often with my son’s help – it’s a great job for toddlers). It should naturally break above the tough bottom that you don’t want so what you are left with is all tender.
As I said, making this roasted asparagus has my toddler asking for more (true some of that’s because of the cheese) and the grown ups are all fans as well. For so little work, and hardly a recipe even, there’s such great flavor. It makes a fantastic side for so many meals – here we had it with lamb chops, roast potatoes and a beet and arugula salad but it can go with lots of things from meat and fish to pasta and risotto. So whatever your weather, put a little spring on your plate with this roasted asparagus. You’ll be back for more.
A simple side that goes with so many dishes.
- 18 spears asparagus approx, around 1/2 a bundle
- 1/4 tsp salt approx, to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper approx, to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil approx
- 2 tbsp parmesan grated, approx
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
Snap the bottom off each asparagus spear and toss them in a roasting pan with the salt, pepper and olive oil. Try to have them in a single layer in the dish.
Roast for approximately 15-18 minutes until the asparagus is just about tender.
Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top. You should have a thin layer over it all. Put it back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted and the asparagus is tender.
Try these other tasty sides:
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