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Pappardelle with asparagus and pancetta

2011 June 17
by Steph Lawrence

A few weeks ago marked the beginning of asparagus season. Don’t tell the other vegetables in the garden, but asparagus might be my favorite. So I get pretty excited seeing asparagus lining the farmers market stands, as is happening now, and wanted to make a dinner in honor of its arrival. This simple pasta with asparagus, pancetta and creme fraiche was the perfect thing, because not only does it involve my (shh!) favorite vegetable, but also did you read the part about the pancetta? And the creme fraiche? Enough said.

It’s been a busy past couple of months, and I have some exciting news in my life. The last week in April (incidentally around the time of my last post in which I heralded my return to blogging. Ha.) Craig and I bought (drumroll…..) a new puppy! His name is Albus, and he is the love of our lives. Here he is at 8 weeks. I think this photo was taken right before we both collapsed on the floor from exhaustion.

Just a few days after the addition of this small bundle of joy (who is very fond of eating our carpets), I also heard the exciting news that I got in to graduate school. I will be getting my MBA at Berkeley where I plan to study exciting things like nonprofit management, social innovation and New Methods in Accounting (related: I was just instructed to by this calculator. I am sure I am in for some nonstop fun). Anyway, that is the big news in my life but I digress. I believe I was talking about more important things. Namely, pancetta:

Pancetta is a magical thing, and the pasta was equally magical. I am a huge fan of pappardelle pasta, and got the local pasta shop around the corner cut some lovely thick slices for me. The meal itself is insanely simple and difficult to mess up, but somehow I managed to: sadly I was in a bit of a rush (you know, to get the asparagus and pancetta in my mouth), and I neglected to take the time to really separate the pasta and dust the flour off. I would strongly recommend you be less hasty than myself because it led to some pasta glue situations that I would rather have avoided. Other than that small road bump, the meal was delicious, and simple, and just the thing I was looking for to celebrate the beginning of the summer bounty. Lucky for you the asparagus is still coming strong so head to your local farmers market this weekend and pick some up for a tasty and simple dinner.

Pappardelle with asparagus and pancetta

    1/3 lb. pancetta
    1 lb. asparagus
    1/4 cup creme fraiche

    Put two pots of water on to boil, a large for the pasta and a small for the asparagus. Slice the asparagus as pictured into small coins. Leave the spear tips. In the small pot of boiling water, blanch the asparagus. Add the spears first, then 1-2 minutes later add the rest of the chopped asparagus, and cook until just tender. Chop the pancetta roughly and brown in a pan with heated oil. When browned, add the creme fraiche and stir. You can add a little more liquid in the form of chicken broth or wine, if needed. Cook the pasta until done and drain. Transfer pasta to the pancetta mixture, add the asparagus and toss. Serve warm with some fresh pepper and shaved parmesan.

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Rukmin permalink
    June 17, 2011

    Steph – you amaze me. I am making this when I get home.

    • June 17, 2011

      You are the best! I hope you are eating two of everything in France for me. Did you go to Mariage Frères?!

  2. Will permalink
    June 20, 2011

    Sounds amazing. Substitute pizza crust for pasta and you have my most recent meal at Ragazza. This is a perfect summer counterpart to the seasonally-agnostic pasta all’ Amatriciana. When’s our next pasta-making party?

  3. Lorraine permalink
    June 20, 2011

    Amazing! This is the calculator that my dad has had since he was in engineering school. He loves it so much and often show it off to me as though I’ve never seen it before. May you love it as much as he does.

    And the pappardelle looks fabulous. Sometimes I wish I were Crank.

    • June 21, 2011

      Haha so awesome!! I will let you know if I get it, I am mildly afraid of it. Thanks for the comment! Hope all’s well with you!

  4. June 27, 2011

    I love white asparagus but have been wanting to make a dish with green aspargus. I couldn’t really find a recipe that would make my mouth water, but I think I just found it! Can’t wait to buy green asparagus at the market on Saturday and prepare your pasta!

  5. james5 permalink
    July 19, 2011

    i think you not-blogged so long i got unsubscribed from your feed. i didn’t know you were BACK! with a puppy. i’m ecstatic. miss you.

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