Side dishes are wonderful. In my opinion, side dishes are necessary – otherwise the meal is incomplete and lop-sided. Even simple things like deli-sandwiches need a complimentary side such as a big pickle spear or some sort of creamy salad like macaroni or potato. Hot Dog – gotta have beans. Hamburgers scream for French Fries or onion rings. Side dishes are an important part of meal planning.
A little while back, I made a wonderful Italian supper. The “main” attraction was my Cuocere Stile Italiano – Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Relish. For the sides, I made a risotto (love risotto!!!) and a new recipe I picked up from everydaytastes.com for Tuscan Roasted Asparagus. The dish looked pretty and I liked the idea of two vegetables together in one dish with lots of herbs. It was delicious! Best of all, this beautiful side is easy to make, freeing you up for other things like sipping wine.
My family loved it. And I wouldn’t hesitate a moment to make this for company.
Tuscan Roasted Asparagus
2 tablespoons of butter
1 pound asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
½ teaspoon basil leaves
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (more if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and trim the asparagus. The best way to remove the “woody” ends is to break them off. The asparagus will naturally “snap” at the point where the woody ends begin. Lay trimmed asparagus on some paper towels and pat dry.
Slice tomatoes into equal semi-thin rounds. Not so thin as to shrivel while baking, but not so thick that they shield the asparagus from roasting.
Cut butter into small pieces and place in a 13×9 glass baking dish. Place the baking dish into the oven while it is preheating to melt the butter. When butter is melted and bubbling, remove from oven and asparagus in bottom of dish with melted butter.
Sprinkle with onion and celery. Arrange tomato slices on top. Sprinkle with basil, thyme, pepper and cheese. Roast for 30 minutes or until asparagus is fork tender.
Remove from oven and serve.