Penne with Asparagus and Pancetta
When you have a bunch of asparagus sitting in your refrigerator, but you don't want to let them go to waste use them in a pasta or a risotto. I don't like to pulverize my vegetables in a dish. In this case, i wanted the asparagus to still have some crunch to them. I rendered my pancetta in some olive oil, added some finely minced red onion, then i deglazed with some white wine for some acidity. Cream was the binder in this dish which added the richness to the pasta. I blanched my asparagus tips before hand and set them aside; they're delicate, and cook in only seconds. The remaining portion of asparagus were sliced into thin cirlces and added towards the very end of cooking as i ladeled the pasta from the boiling salted water into the sauce. The residual heat made them tender but still crisp. I finished this dish by adding some Parmigianno-Regianno, some miniature basil leaves, a touch of extra virgin olive oil, and a few turns of black pepper. I was glad to use that extra heavy cream, pancetta, and the asparagus that lurked in my refrigerator. Turning ingredients into a meal is a great feeling, rather than letting them die in your refrigerator.