I love pasta. I realize this is nothing extraordinary as most people, at least those worth befriending, also love pasta. It is one of those few dishes that is both delicious and totally justified in every season: spring, summer, fall, and winter. It is also one of those dishes that is often far better made at home as opposed to ordered over-sauced and over-cooked in an everyday restaurant.
Although not the lightest of spring pasta dishes, this recipe is definitely worth it! I did increase the vegetable-to-pasta ratio, from the original recipe, which may not exactly negate the heavy whipping cream or crispy bacon, but it at least helps make the dish look healthy!
Fettuccine with Peas, Asparagus, and Bacon
adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2010
12 ounces fettuccine
6 slices bacon, chopped (I like the flavor of the smoked bacon)
2 bundles asparagus, about 2 pounds(trim thick ends and cut into diagonal 1-inch pieces)
2 1/2 cups frozen peas (not thawed)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
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
Prepare all ingredients prior to beginning this recipe:
Trim and slice the asparagus.
Thinly slice the green onions.
Grate the Parmesan cheese.
Finely grate the lemon peel, and then juice the lemon.
Chop and/or slice the parsley and basil.
Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season boiling water with generous helping of salt and cook fettuccine al dente. Once the pasta is tender, yet firm (al dente), drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid (I dip and fill a coffee mug). Return the fettuccine to the pot.
While the pasta water is coming to a boil, cook the chopped bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove the crispy bacon, with a slotted spoon, and drain on a paper towel. Discard all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon drippings from the skillet.
Add the trimmed asparagus to the drippings in skillet and sauté 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Then add the frozen peas, green onions, and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from vegetable mixture from the heat.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pasta, including: the vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, half of the parsley, and half of the basil to pasta.
Toss all the ingredients together and add more of the remaining pasta liquid by tablespoonfuls as needed.
Season the dish with salt and freshly ground black pepper (Penzey’s 4 Peppercorn blend is amazing). Transfer the pasta to serving bowls and sprinkle with bacon, the remaining parsley, and basil, and additional Parmesan cheese as desired.
Confessions of a *wannabe* foodie:
The original recipe calls for pancetta, but sometimes a good old (I mean young) American girl just needs to go for some bacon! I love the smoky flavor that hickory smoked bacon adds to this dish, but you may want to avoid anything maple cured!