It’s a busy time in the household this week. As the weather gets better, we are spending more time in our fledgling garden, learning as we go how things need to be done. It’s quite the trial and error system, but it’s the best way for us to learn. This will be our second garden in two years that we have started from scratch, literally digging up overgrown grasses and weeds that other people have left behind to turnn it into something that will provide us with delicious vegetables and fruits all spring, summer and fall.
Also, I’m hoping it will help in the picky eater department too. As we spend more time in the garden digging in the rich brwon dirt, we are also sharing this time with out two yeard old son. I hope that somehow all those rumours are true about letting your kids help at the garden level. Maybe he will become super interested in the vegetables that are growing right here in his backyard and maybe he’ll actually try one or two. One can only hope.
As spring brings new things for us, it also brings forth some of my favourite vegetables that can be picked up at most farmer’s markets right now. Asparagus is something that I never particularly liked growing up, but over time I changed my tune. It’s not only fun to eat (even for little ones, who can pick it up spear by spear) but it is delicious and works with so many other flavours.
I wanted to make a nice light meal for the family but still wanted it to be filling, so I decided upon this dish that lets the asparagus shine through. There is no heavy sauce to drown the flavours, only pancetta, butter, Parmesan and asparagus, each complimenting each other and making this dish a complete meal.
Try it with any long, thin type noodles and even adding an egg yolk or two might not be such a bad idea!
Spring Asparagus and Pancetta Fettucine
150g thick cut pancetta, cut into small chunks (you may need to remove outer paper and string)
1lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch chunks
1lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
375g whole wheat fettucine (or linguini)
1/4 medium red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper (lots!)
4 Tbsp butter
1. In small sauté pan on medium high heat, sauté pancetta until crisp. Remove from pan, drain on paper towels and set aside.
2. In another larger sauté pan, heat 1 Tbsp of butter. Add in garlic, onion and mushrooms. Sauté until slightly softened.
3. Add asparagus to same pan and continue to sauté until asparagus has become softened, but still somewhat crisp to the bite (al dente).
4. Meanwhile, in large pot, boil 4 litres of water with 1 Tbsp of salt. Boil pasta for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and pour back into pot.
5. Toss in remaining butter, salt, pepper, and Parmesan (reserve some to top your pasta with).
6. Serve pasta topped with asparagus mixture and pancetta (alternately you can stir the asparagus mixture right into the pasta). Garnish with remaining Parmesan.