Fettucine with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta

Simon is blessed, as in full-on, gift-from-God blessed. There isn't enough food in the world to slow his metabolism down. So, you can imagine his confusion when I make such ridiculous statements as "I only eat pasta once a week".

I love pasta. I love meat sauces, and cream sauces, and carbonaras, and baked pasta. I love it all - but I don't have the metabolism of a 12 year-old. So when the new Bon Appetit came out with 3000 different pasta recipes I was desperate to try, I had to choose carefully.

In the end, I went with the fettucine from the magazine's cover. Partly because it looked easy (and I didn't start cooking until 6:00) and partly because it has asparagus and there was some lovely looking Ontario asparagus at the green grocers. Also, it has pancetta. I love pancetta. I love the way it's like bacon but seems somehow more elegant. And I love the way the pink and white ribbing make it look like candy. I love it so much I ate a third of it while cooking the rest of the ingredients.

What I love about this recipe, is how absolutely green it is. It's like the pasta is an afterthought. And honestly, if for some reason or other you weren't eating pasta, you could probably eat it without as some sort of Asparagus, Peas, and Pancetta warm salad (yum!?!). What I don't like about this recipe is that it was a ridiculous amount of work for what looked like a simple pasta dish. I'd definitely make it again, but I don't know that I'd follow the recipe exactly. It's the perfect kind of dish to improvise with whatever looks good at the market.

Fettucine (or Spaghetti!) with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta

 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

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.

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