Summer Pasta with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta — asparagus , pasta , quick dinners , vegetables — For Two, Please

June 27, 2010

Summer Pasta with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta

Although it may not seem like it from my last post, we actually do eat more than just asparagus and carbs at our place. I swear. It's just that asparagus has been so plentiful -- and good! and cheap! and easy to make! -- these days that it's really hard to resist.

Lately, we've been doing more "one stop" meals where everything (the vegetables, carbohydrates, and meat) is part of the main dish. I love those type of means less pots/pans to keep track of, less multi-tasking and best of all, less dishes to clean up! Good for the busy and tired and lazy folk, right??

Ok, so maybe not lazy -- but definitely tired and busy. AC and I both started new jobs last month...and while it's been a good change, it's also been a BUSY transition. Gone are the travel discounts and work-from-home Fridays *sob*. But not all is lost; I do get summer Fridays, as well as a nice little perk at this lovely shop :D

Anyway, this delightful summer pasta is the perfect way to show off this season's finest. For one thing, it has fresh peas. Fresh peas are one of my favorite foods -- if you've never had the privilege of shelling and popping them right into your mouth, you are totally missing out. They taste like spring (or how I would imagine spring to taste), and are so deliciously sweet that you can sometimes eat them raw. Other lovelies in this pasta include diced cured pancetta, bits of fresh basil, a wonderfully bright lemon cream sauce, grated parmesan cheese, and of course, asparagus. Simple, fresh and light: the perfect way to enjoy summer after a long, busy day...

Fettucine with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta
Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2010

12 ounces fettuccine or penne
6 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh green peas, blanched 1 minute in boiling water, drained, or frozen peas if you are pressed for time (do not thaw)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided

Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Meanwhile, cook pancetta in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon drippings from skillet. Add asparagus to drippings in skillet; sauté 3 minutes. Add peas, white and pale green parts of green onions, and garlic; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, dark green parts of green onions, 1/2 cup Parmesan, cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, half of parsley, and half of basil to pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if needed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle pancetta, remaining parsley, and basil over. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

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