Simple Roasted Asparagus

Someone a long time ago taught me how to make roasted asparagus. I know it wasn’t a family member (because I taught all of them) and it wasn’t a close friend either (same reason). It was either a TV cooking show or the host of a party I went to once.

Either way, it’s pretty easy. There’s a basic formula for oven temperature and time: if you have skinny asparagus, you decrease them within a range; if they’re fatties, then you increase it.

NOTE: In these pictures, these asparagus were on the skinny side (I do have skinny fingers, too), so I chose to roast them at 425 deg F for 12 minutes.

The other key factor is you have to lay them out flat — no stacking.

Stacking veggies = steamed veggies = no yummy roasted bits.

Lastly, while you can use aluminum foil, parchment paper is my best oven friend in the kitchen. Seriously, food doesn’t stick to it. I can’t even remember the last time I used foil in the oven!

Simple Roasted Asparagus

Serving size varies on the amount of asparagus you have (my husband and I can easily polish off a 2+ pound bag, so use your best judgement but don’t judge us)

INGREDIENTS:

  • Asparagus, 1-2 bunches (whatever fits on a single roasting pan)
  • Olive oil, the teeniest spray
  • Salt, the lightest sprinkling
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 425-450 deg F. (See notes for temperature and time tips.) Place parchment paper on a roasting pan.

Wash and trim the woody ends of the asparagus then lightly roll them dry with a towel or paper towels. Transfer the asparagus to the roasting pan so they’re in a single layer. Very lightly spray them with olive oil (or other cooking oil) and top with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Use a clean hand to gently roll the asparagus to spread the oil and coat them with the seasonings.

When the oven temperature has been reached, place the asparagus into the oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on their thickness). When the time has elapsed, pull the pan out and check for doneness with a fork. If roasted to your liking (i.e. if you spear or can cut them with general ease using a fork), immediately remove them from the roasting pan to stop them from cooking; if not, then let them sit on the pan for 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately. If you’re feeling generous, share them with others and try to keep yourself from eating them all in one sitting.

Recipe Notes:

  • We usually roast an entire bag of asparagus from Costco (just over 2 pounds) at once. However much you use, they have to be lying flat in a pan, not stacked.
  • Have you ever tried to bite into a cooked-yet-woody part of an asparagus? No? Well, it’s gross. I trim my asparagus by holding both ends and bending the lower part of the stem until it snaps at the natural end of the woody part. True, it takes a little time to do and, yes, at the end you say “my, that’s a lot of asparagus wasted,” but you won’t have any gross experiences.
  • How do I dry the asparagus? More often than not, I lay a paper towel on the parchment paper, dump the wet asparagus on it, roll it in the paper towel until it’s mostly dry, then roll the asparagus off it right onto the parchment paper and pan.
  • I really mean it when I say “the teeniest spray” of olive oil. While the asparagus will roast fine without it and I normally don’t cook with added oil, the only reason I use it is so the seasonings lightly stick.
  • While we’re at it, you barely need any salt. The flavor of the asparagus is king here! No need to drown it in salt.
  • When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll mince a couple cloves of garlic and use that instead of garlic powder. Sometimes I’ll put the smallest dusting of cayenne pepper, too, or roasted red pepper flakes. I’ve tried dressing this up with more or fancy seasonings but the asparagus really shines best when it’s kept simple.
  • Time and temperature to use. You should roast asparagus at 425-450 deg F for 10-15 minutes. Like I mentioned earlier, the photos are of skinny asparagus that I cooked at 425 deg F for 12 minutes. When they’re the really big fat ones, I definitely cook it at 450 deg F for 15 minutes. It tends to be more difficult to not overcook the skinny ones. As soon as you’re done roasting the asparagus, test with a fork for doneness and, if perfect, then pull them off the hot pan immediately so they don’t over cook. Simply pull the entire parchment paper off onto the counter and you’re done!

 

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