CLASSIC pasta fusilli with asparagus and pancetta








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When one can get the tender, early asparagus, this is an ideal presentation -- the pancetta/bacon provides the wonderful overtones.


for the sauce:

  • three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • four ounces pancetta, or bacon, chopped in quarter-inch squares
  • three cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • one medium onion, finely diced
  • one and one-half pound asparagus (before trimming)
  • one tablespoon  fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one tablespoon butter
  • one quarter cup freshly grated parmesan

for the pasta:

  • one pound of fusilli

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus. Then cut each stalk, by slicing on a diagonal, into one-half inch  pieces.

In a saute pan over medium heat, put in one tablespoon of the olive oil and then add the pancetta or bacon. Saute for four or five minutes until the pieces are well browned (but not crisp). With a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta/bacon and put on a paper towel.

Drain the oil from the saute pan, and then add two tablespoons of fresh olive oil. Over medium heat. add the garlic, and twenty seconds later, add the onion. Cook the onion until it is translucent, about four minutes.

Add the asparagus and saute until tender, generally just a few minutes if the stalks or small and fresh. Add a half teaspoon of salt, some freshly ground pepper; add the pancetta/bacon back in the saute pan. Stir and cook for a minute more.

Meanwhile bring 4-5 quarts of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt. Drop in the pasta and stir. Continue cooking until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta cooking liquid, drain.

Combine the pasta with the sauce over a medium heat. Add the parmesan and a tablespoon of butter. Stir thoroughly. If it is not moist enough add a tablespoon or so of the reserved liquid. Taste for salt and pepper. Cover the pan, and turn the heat up to high for one minute. This gets the pasta steaming hot, as it should be.

 Serve with parsley as a garnish and extra freshly grated parmesan.




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