Main Dish or Side Dish – Penne with Asparagus and Peppers

I just finished the 2012 novel, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, and I can’t say enough good about this fabulous work of fiction. Nearly every sentence had me reaching for my journal to copy down yet another amazing metaphor or another fabulous turn of phrase. It’s beautiful, luminous writing.

One thing that immediately stood out for me when I started the book was the author’s ability to write sentences rife with vivid verbs. This is the mark of excellent writing, where the verbs so bring the sentence to life that few adjectives or adverbs are necessary. Here are a few examples:

“…his steps ricocheted like stray bullets off the stairs…”

“the waves shattered on the rocks”

“the wind pounced on him like a predator”

“he gripped each thought like the rung of a ladder by
which to haul himself back”

“when it rains, the clouds hurl down water”

“the temperature plummets

“Great galleys are carved across dirt roads”

I especially loved this one: “when it rains, the clouds hurl down water.” Notice that the author avoided cliche terms, like rained

And you’ll notice that I haven’t said anything about the story yet! If the story hadn’t been engaging, with a bit of intrigue perhaps the writing itself wouldn’t have seemed so fabulous. This book has it all, though. Check it out from your library today!

Penne with Asparagus and Peppers

This dish is colorful in addition to being tasty! I mean, you really can’t go wrong with parmesan cheese, right? I simplified the dish a bit. I cooked the pasta in salted, chicken stock. I found this great product called Better than Bouillon. It’s sort of a paste but comes in a small jar. I’ve purchased other bouillon products like this in the past that are closer to a powder, but I like this because even when refrigerated had a liquidy consistency. Cool! So I boiled up half a package of whole wheat penne.


Then I steamed chopped asparagus. In a skillet I cooked tri-color peppers in a bit of olive oil, along with garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. After the asparagus and pasta were cooked, I added them to the skillet, and voila! Yummy side or main dish! I sprinkled with some parmesan cheese (maybe 1/2 T) and that preserved the flavor while eliminating some of the calories.

Look at that healthy deliciousness! This recipe comes from Shirley Z., one of our snowbirds who we hope will soon be landing back in Elmhurst soon!


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