May 12-15 The Last Supper - Pre Marathon Pasta Dinner

May 12     Pork and Shrimp Potstickers, Basil Tofu with red rice and chinese broccoli
May 13     Dinner out with the neighbours
May 14     Penne with roasted broccoli and balsamic butter
May 15     Dinner out due to extreme exhaustion and disinterest on my part

Dianne and I were walking a half marathon on Sunday, which means that Saturday night I had to eat some pasta and carb up! Honestly, as a woman, being to told that I have to carb up is probably the best part about long distance walking. I wanted something really simple and clean because cream sauces and meat sauces don't work for me as my pre race meal ( this time I use the word "race"loosely since we did not train for this and will not be breaking any land speed records this time).  My usual go to pasta for the night before would be whole wheat spaghetti a la olio but I can't waste that one on this "race" so it was time to find something else that would fit the bill. I found this recipe for Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter on Mel's Kitchen Cafe. The only problem was that asparagus has suddenly jumped to $4.99 a bunch and I didn't really want to pay that much for it so I bought some broccoli to roast instead. Little Shack doesn't care for asparagus so he was much happier with the finished dish and I didn't have to spend a small fortune on a vegetable that only two of us would eat. Win, win.

In the end, Dianne and I did not embarrass ourselves and managed to get a respectable time. I attribute this both our delicious pre race pasta dinners and the fact that we are both, inherently, superwomen. Hear us roar.

On the keeping it real front, we were supposed to have my mother in law for a late mother's day dinner on Sunday night and I had Shack throw a mustard rubbed roast from Supperworks in the crockpot with a bit of chicken stock, thinking that this would be the easiest thing to make for dinner. Clearly I wasn't going to feel like cooking anything much after spending 3 hours galavanting out in the rain. Unfortunately, it was virtually tasteless and the only things that I can think of to rescue the roast would a) be really time consuming and require much mental effort and b) produce something that my mother in law would not want to eat so we had to cancel dinner and we went out to eat instead.

I am going to turn this tasteless roast into either a bbq pulled beef with some sort of mind blowing homemade bbq sauce or something spicy and mexican for tacos. The best laid plans and all of that.

Whole Wheat Penne with Roasted Broccoli and Balsamic Butter
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
serves 2-3

1 crown of broccoli
1-2 tbls olive oil
pinch kosher salt and a couple grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tbls butter
250 grams of whole wheat penne
3 tbls grated parmesan and more for serving

Heat the oven to 400F. Cut the broccoli crown into flowerets (cut any large flowerets into half) and toss with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast on the bottom rack for about 15 minutes while your pasta cooks.
Heat a pot of salted water to the boil and cook your penne according to the package instructions.
Meanwhile, put the balsamic vinegar in a small pot  on medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer until it reduces to 1 1/2 tbls. and then take it off the heat, add the sugar and set aside.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and put it back in the pot. Stir in the vinegar, the butter and the parmesan and toss to coat. Add the roasted broccoli and serve immediately, adding some extra cheese (and, as always, hot chili flakes for me).
It was absolutely perfect for me. Not to heavy, very subtle flavour but not boring subtle. Once again, thank you no reEATS for making me so desperate that I tried a recipe that sounded like it could actually be kind of terrible and turned out to be kind of wonderful instead.
I really like this pasta and would happily eat it again.
Next year.


  1. Congrats on the half marathon! I'm sure the dinner did it for you. It looks tasty and so wholesome.

  2. thanks! It must have been the pasta because it's the only thing I did right to prepare lol. Tonight I sauteed three kinds of mushrooms in butter and garlic with a slurp more balsamic and then threw in the leftover pasta and it is even tastier this way. Almost deserves it's own post


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