Widely used in Mediterranean cooking, asparagus is a vibrant vegetable that can be used in many ways, from side dishes to homemade pastadishes. Green asparagus is most commonly known for its long green stalk and pointed top, but there are also white asparagus varieties grown in darkness to keep them from turning green. With its nutty flavor, grilled asparagus makes a delicious side dish. Asparagus and other marinated vegetables make a popular antipasti. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and parmigiano reggiano to kick off an Italian meal the right way.