I’ll eat most produce year-round, but asparagus is one I keep in season and let me tell you, I make this recipe as much as I can during that short time. This is a delicious way to use my favorite spring vegetable!! Speaking of favorite veggies – arugula can be a tricky gal to tame, but she’s the perfect compliment here. Keep it to the side until plating. You’re going to have plenty of leftovers and you don’t want the greens to get soggy.
The Best Spring Pasta
- 3 cups penne pasta
- 1 cup peas
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 bunch asparagus trimmed and chopped into 2 inch segments
- 1 tsp salt divided
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup white wine more sweet than dry
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan optional
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Add the peas to the water with four minutes of cooking time remaining. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.
- Cook the bacon over medium heat in a large skillet until crispy. Place on paper towels and crumble when cooled.
- Meanwhile, remove most of the bacon fat from the pan and return to medium heat. Add the asparagus and a pinch of salt and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Using the saucepan that cooked the noodles, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the flour and cook for another 30 seconds. Whisk in the reserved pasta water, wine, cream, and salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes or until thickened. Add the pasta, peas, and asparagus into the pan. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes. Toss to coat.
- To serve, combine each portion with a 1/2 cup of arugula and a sprinkling of chopped bacon. Top with parmesan if so desired.
- I really like orecchiette pasta in this dish, but it can be a bear to get via grocery delivery. Any small sized pasta works just fine.
- Skip the heavy cream and parm. Keep a little extra bacon fat in with the asparagus instead.
- Skip the bacon and use 1 tbsp olive oil to saute the asparagus.
- Add more veggies in place of pasta. I think this would be good with as little as 1 cup of pasta if looking for more of a salad entree than pasta entree.
- Slices of grilled chicken breast would be delightful in this dish. As would a fruit-y or herb-y sausage, like chicken and apple cut into bite-sized pieces.