1 pound asparagus
3 Tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound penne
6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
Break the woody ends from the asparagus and peel the stalks if necessary. Break or cut off the flower ends and cut the stems into 1/2 inch sections (it looks a little nicer if you cut the stems on a diagonal) Add 1 1/2 Tb. olive oil in a deep 12 inch skillet and turn the heat to medium high. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes more. Add a ladleful of broth. As the broth is absorbed and the pasta swells, add more broth and continue to stir once in a while, until the pasta is beginning to become tender, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus stalks and continue to add stock as needed, until the pasta is just about done, another 5 minutes or so. Add the asparagus tips and add a little more broth, stirring until the tips are crisp-tender, the pasta is cooked to your liking, and the mixture is moist, not soupy. Stir in remaining olive oil and top with grated cheese and slat and pepper if desired.