I first saw this springtime stunner on the cover of the most recent Bon Appetit and I knew I would be making it soon. With a last minute trip to the grocery store (I finally went!), I was able to pull this dish together very quickly. I adapted the recipe a bit to what we had available for ingredients and my own preferences, to great success. Our version was very vegetable heavy, since I didn’t decrease the amount of asparagus (going away- didn’t want it to go to waste!), but I did cut the pasta amount in half. I left out the parsley, because I'm not a big fan and didn't want to feel guilty about its slow demise in my fridge while I avoided it in coming weeks. I also consulted my co-worker Lisa, who I consider to be a cream expert, and asked her if she thought using light cream in place of heavy whipping cream would be an acceptable adaption. She gave me the go-ahead, and the light cream was still ridiculously good in this pasta.
Two last notes before I post this: don’t skimp on the lemon or the bacon/pancetta. The lemony kick is outstanding and should not be missed. It truly brought everything together and brought a real brightness to the pasta. I probably don’t have to tell most of you to go for it with the bacon (unless you are a vegetarian, obviously). But seriously- the crunchy saltiness of the cooked pork is an excellent complement to the creamy pasta.
Stupid me, should have thrown the extra pasta in so that I would have had the leftovers for lunch today. Although I’m not convinced that there would have been anything left over…I am not embarrassed to admit that I actually licked the bowl.
Springtime Vegetable Fettuccine
Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2010
(serves 2- and is very vegetable heavy, see above note)
6 ounces fettuccine (half the box)
3 oz. bacon, chopped (recipe recommends pancetta, which I didn’t have… bacon was a great stand in)
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups of peas (I used frozen, shelled fresh green peas would obviously be delicious too)
1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/4 cup light cream
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (or about 3 tablespoons lemon juice)
zest of 1 lemon
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 bacon or 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, Parmesan, cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, 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, and remaining basil over the pasta. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese.