This is a lovely Spring/Summer pasta dish that was the perfect way to use some of the delicious bacon we got from Sojourner Farms last week. The bacon from Sojourner is the tastiest bacon I can ever recall eating, there is a sweetness to it that I have never tasted before and the perfect amount of smokiness. Since there is a very small amount included in this recipe, it isn’t overpowering or greasy in the least (which is something I dislike sometimes about bacon).
I bought some beautiful bunches of asparagus at the market as well as some fresh sugar snap peas. When I got to shelling the peas, I noticed the peas inside were super tiny and delicate and there just wasn’t enough considering I needed 2 cups for the recipe. So, I decided to go ahead and use some frozen organic peas I had on hand, instead. They worked out perfect, though I really would have preferred the fresh, had they been a bit bigger.
This dish has the perfect amount of creaminess without being heavy and the crunch from the fresh asparagus and bacon is wonderful. The brightness from the lemon is really a great compliment to the salty bacon and creamy sauce. I did however, realize after we ate, that the original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of olive oil when mixing the pasta at the end, I accidentally omitted it. I didn’t miss it a bit and honestly, I personally don’t think it needs it. It definitely needed a decent amount of black pepper when serving to give it a bit more punch, so I think next time I may consider adding crushed red pepper as well.
Pasta with Peas, Asparagus and Bacon
adapted from Bon Appétit, May 2010
12 ounces gluten-free organic brown rice penne (any pasta will do however)
3 ounces bacon, chopped (we prefer fresh from the farm, humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic free)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh green peas, blanched 1 minute in boiling water, drained, or organic frozen peas (do not thaw)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons of olive oil (I omitted this)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
fresh ground black pepper
Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon drippings from skillet. Add asparagus to drippings in skillet; sauté 3 minutes. Add peas, white and pale green parts of green onions, and garlic; sprinkle with a bit of salt and black pepper; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, dark green parts of green onions, 1/2 cup Parmesan, cream, olive oil (if you wish), lemon juice, lemon peel, half of parsley, and half of basil to pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if needed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle bacon, remaining parsley, and basil over. Serve, topped with additional Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.