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Penne with Asparagus, Olives & Parmigiano Breadcrumbs

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

Need a time saver? Make the breadcrumbs ahead and store them in a sealed container. Also, you can just snap rather than cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces. 


  • Kosher salt
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
  • 1 cup coarse fresh white breadcrumbs (from about 4 slices of bread, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 lb. penne rigate
  • 1 lb. medium asparagus, woody ends snapped off, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives (about 20)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1-1/2 Tbs. loosely packed)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on four servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 470
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 210
  • Fat (g): 24
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 790
  • Carbohydrates (g): 53
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 11


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

    In a 12-inch skillet, heat 3 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the Parmigiano and a pinch of salt. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

    Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

    Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat in the skillet. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium low and push the asparagus to the side. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and the garlic and cook, gently mashing with the tip of a wooden spoon or spatula until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss the garlic with the asparagus. Remove from the heat.

    Stir in the olives and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the pasta to the skillet, stirring to blend. Add enough reserved cooking water to slightly moisten, as needed, and drizzle with olive oil to enrich. Serve garnished with the breadcrumbs.

Serve with a simple Classic Caesar Salad.


Rate or Review

Reviews (5 reviews)

  • Krispie | 03/16/2016

    I made this for a ladies luncheon. It was tasty but not amamzing. t was easy to make and if you love olives, it's workth trying. If you don't love olives, I would skip this recipe because they are the predominant taste.

  • Slush | 02/07/2015

    This dish includes my favorite ingredients, so of course I thought it was delicious! I added a few cherry tomatoes cut in half, with the olives. The most important ingredient is probably the fresh bread crumbs that add a wonderful texture. Serve with a glass of your favorite wine.

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