Tonight we had our oven-cooked ribs (just cover a rack of ribs with barbecue sauce, wrap in aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 4-5 hours at 300 degrees) along with a side dish that Paula picked out of the March 2016 Cooking Light magazine. The side dish was called Creamy Asparagus and Pancetta Penne.

This side dish could be used with almost any meat that you might want to have. Here is the recipe in case you’re interested…

Combine flour and butter in a bowl until a paste forms.

Place a large high-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add 2 ounces of chopped pancetta and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 8 ounces of sliced cremini mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes or until browned and liquid evaporates. Add 1/4 cup of white wine and cook for 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring to loosen browned bits. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer mixture to a plate.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock, 2 cups milk, and 12 ounces of penne along with a bay leaf to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 cup of frozen green peas, 1 bunch of asparagus (trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, another 1 cup of milk, and 1/2 tablespoon of chopped thyme. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add the butter-flour paste, stirring constantly to combine and thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in mushroom mixture along with a a few tablespoons of parsley, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind, and some black pepper.

This was quite tasty and quite filling. Between the side dish and ribs, all of us were full but quite content. This was a real treat for dinner tonight!