CLASSIC pasta penne with asparagus, peas and mushrooms








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We came across a recipe we thought perfect for spring: using peas and asparagus, from a very well-known chef. We have to admit, we were perplexed with both the ratio of the quantity of the ingredients and the actual cooking times. It did not really work, but we loved the concept.

Therefore, here is our adaptation (major adaptation in a way) for a penne with peas and asparagus, to which we added, for an excellent flavor contrast: mushrooms.

for the sauce:

  • three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • three garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • one-half pound asparagus
  • one cup shelled English peas (or frozen baby peas, thawed)
  • one-quarter pound shitake mushrooms (or crimini) sliced
  • one cup chicken stock
  • one-quarter cup heavy cream
  • two tablespoons unsalted butter
  • two tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • one-half cup freshly grated parmesan
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

for the pasta:

  • one pound of penne 

Prepare the asparagus. Snap off the tough ends. Slice on a diagonal into one-inch lengths.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic. Thirty seconds later, add the asparagus, the sage and the mushrooms. After three minutes add the stock; turn the heat up to a boil. Cook for another minute, until the asparagus is just tender.

Add the peas and cream over high heat, a half teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper, and cook for about two minutes, until the cream is reduced and the sauce starts to thicken.

Meanwhile bring 4-5 quarts of water to a raging boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Drop in the pasta and stir. Continue cooking until al dente (or just a touch short of al dente). Drain somewhat, although the pasta should carry a little moisture.

Bring the sauce to heat again. Add the pasta to the sauce. Add the butter. Stir very well. Add half the parmesan. Cover and cook for a minute over medium heat to get the pasta really steaming.

Stir again. Serve, with additional parmesan on the side.







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