5.14.2010

Impromptu Pasta with Asparagus and Peas

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The other evening, I sat in bed looking through the May issue of Bon Appetit, with no dinner plans. Until I saw the fettuccine recipe. It called out to me. I listened. I went to the fridge. I went back to the room to look at the magazine again, then back to the fridge. Then I got tired, and smart, and took the magazine to the kitchen with me. I had all the ingredients, substituting Hungarian bacon for the pancetta, I got to work.

The dish came together quickly, making the condo smell like garlic and bacon. Delicious. With the recent house hunting we have been doing, it's been interesting to get different perspectives on how folks like their kitchens oriented. We like ours to open up to something, everything. I hate isolated kitchens, but I always hear complaints from folks about food smells throughout the house. I never get that. I like the way my food smells. Especially bacon. I can go to sleep to the smell of bacon.
Fettuccine with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta
Recipe by the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen. May 2010

12 ounces fettuccine or penne
3 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 (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

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

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