07 November 2010

Pasta con Pancetta e Asparigi

I absolutely adore simple pasta dishes, especially the ones that look and taste like they took much more effort than they actually did. This is one of them – very simple and fast to whip up, and as long as you use high-quality ingredients (fresh is the key word here), you really can’t fail. Well, you could, but follow the instructions, and you shouldn’t!

Pasta con Pancetta e Asparagi (pasta with pancetta and asparagus)

12 oz tagliatelle (for this course, I generally use dried and not fresh/homemade and in the picture above, I actually used shells instead)
4 oz pancetta, thinly sliced
1 lb green asparagus
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch green onions
Italian parsley (flat-leaf)
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lemon
olive oil
black pepper

Start by boiling the water for the pasta, and add the tagliatelle when the water is boiling. Cook until al dente. Cut the pancetta into smaller pieces (I generally do roughly 0.5x1 inch strips) and place in a large skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook over medium heat until crispy, and then move to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Reserve some of the fat in the pan (not too much, about a tablespoon).

Cut the asparagus into bite-sized pieces and cook in the skillet with the reserved fat for about 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Divide the green onion into dark green and light green + white. Mince the garlic and slice the pale green and white pieces of green onion, and add to the skillet with the asparagus. Cook another two or so minutes, until vegetables are cooked through, but still crispy.

At this point, add the pancetta back to the skillet together with the parsley, and the minced dark green parts of the green onion. Drain the pasta and return to the pot, reserving a few tablespoons of the water you cooked it in. Add the contents of the skillet to the pasta, as well as the juice of the lemon, the cream, the Parmesan cheese, and about a tablespoon of olive oil. If it seems a little dry, add some of the reserved water.

Serve immediately. Add some more grated Parmesan if desired.

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