Dietitian's tip: Though this recipe calls for penne — a smooth, diagonally cut tube pasta — you can substitute any type of pasta, including farfalle, mostaccioli, rotelle or ziti.
- 1/3 pound whole-wheat penne pasta
- 1/2 cup asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese
Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to boil. Add the pasta and cook al dente (tender), 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain the pasta thoroughly.
While the pasta is cooking, put the asparagus and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat the asparagus on high power until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.
In a bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic and pepper. Add the asparagus, pasta and goat cheese and toss until well mixed. Place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to cool.
Divide the pasta between the plates. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve.