Pasta gets a bad wrap. Everyone (including Ryan and I) are trying to cut down on carbs, replacing white flour with whole grains, and looking for gluten free options. But pasta is just so good! Ryan and I recently spent some time in Italy, and if the Italians can eat pasta at the frequency they do surely we can too! I think, like in all things, it's all about moderation. A reasonably sized bowl of superb pasta beats the never-ending pasta specials at the local Italian chain restaurant.
If you're going to treat yourself with a decadent comforting bowl of pasta, fresh pasta is a must. Most grocery stores carry fresh pasta in the refrigerator section, or you can spend the time and effort to make your own. Homemade is always best, but refrigerated fresh pasta is a close second. It is so worth the extra few dollars. And of course, bacon makes everything better. This recipe is so reminiscent of some of the pasta dishes we enjoyed in Italy. Fresh pasta, a simple sauce, and great fresh ingredients.
Fill a large pot with water and heat over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Heat a cast iron or heavy pan over medium heat. Dice four strips of thick cut bacon into small pieces. Add to the hot pan and cook stirring every few minutes until bacon has rendered most of it's fat.
Halve and thinly slice one medium sized leek. Be sure to rinse the leek in cold water to remove any sand trapped between the layers. Fill a large bowl with water and add the leeks. Swish around to release any trapped sand and scoop out the leeks with a slotted spoon. The leeks float while the sand falls to the bottom of the bowl. Pat dry on a clean kitchen towel and add the leeks to the pan. Add a drizzle of olive oil if the pan starts to look dry and the leeks begin to stick. Saute the leeks until they are starting to soften.
Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of dry white wine. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream and turn the heat down to medium low. Season with salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg. Clean and dice one small bunch (about 1 cup) of asparagus. Look for asparagus with medium to small stalks; they cook quickly and stay tender. Add the asparagus to the pan. Adding the asparagus last ensures that it does not overcook but remains tender-crisp while the pasta cooks.
Simmer over low heat to reduce while the pasta cooks.
Season boiling water with salt and add pasta. Cook according to package instructions, usually 3-5 minutes for fresh pasta or until al dente.
Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Divide between bowls and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.
With just a few ingredients, quality is so important. Fresh tender asparagus, a nice smoky thick cut bacon, and heavy cream served over fresh pasta is really a treat. We'll be back on the low carb diet tomorrow!
Fettuccini with Bacon and Asparagus Cream SauceBy Land of Noms, August 04, 2015
- 1 10oz package of fresh fettuccine pasta
- 4 strips of thick cut bacon
- 1 medium sized leek
- 1/2 cup of dry white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 bunch (1 cup diced) thin or medium sized asparagus
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Heat a large pot of water to boiling for pasta
- Dice bacon and saute in a large cast iron pan over medium heat until fat has rendered
- Dice leek and rinse well; pat dry and add to bacon
- Saute leek until softened, adding a drizzle of olive oil if the pan begins to look dry and leeks stick
- Deglaze pan with white wine and stir in heavy cream, reducing heat to medium low
- Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg
- Dice asparagus and add to cream, cooking over low until asparagus is tender crisp and sauce has reduced
- While sauce reduces, season boiling water with salt and cook pasta according to package instructions
- Drain pasta and toss with sauce; serve with fresh parmesan cheese and fresh black pepper
Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!