CLASSIC pasta fettuccine with fresh corn and asparagus (and red pepper flakes)
         

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This is a recipe for the spring, when fresh corn and asparagus appear in the markets. It is adapted from a recipe by noted chef Scott Conant, that appeared in a "Best chefs" section of Food and Wine.

The recipe adds a spicy flavor that really makes it work. And with the fresh vegetables, it is a simple and easy dish to prepare.

for the sauce:

  • six ounces of mushrooms, shitake or crimini preferred
  • one-half cup extra virgin olive oil
  • one small onion, red preferred, peeled and diced
  • one-quarter teaspoon red pepper flakes (see note)
  • two cups fresh corn kernels, stripped from ears
  • one pound thin asparagus (after terimming)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • six tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano

for the pasta:

Notes: Scott uses one jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced, rather than the red pepper flakes. Your choice!

Prepare the asparagus: break off tough bottoms; cut the stems on a diagonal about one-half inch in length, but leave the tips whole.

De-stem the mushrooms and slice.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and the red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, about two minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another two minutes. Add a half teaspoon of salt. Add the asparagus and cook for two minutes and then the corn and continue to cook until they are cooked through, tender, but still al dente -- about two to three minutes. Add a few twists of the pepper mill and stir.

Get five quarts of water up to a raging boil.  Add two tablespoons of salt. Add the fettuccine. Cook until al dente. Then drain well, reserving one cup of the liquid.

Add the fettuccine to the heated sauce. Add the cup of reserved liquid, and bring to a boil. Continue for about a minute, until the water is just absorbed. Add the pecorino, stir and serve, with additional pecorino on the side.

>>Green bean variation: instead of the asparagus, use fresh green beans. Trim the ends and then cut in about a half-inch lengths. Add the green beans with the mushrooms, above.


 

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