Thursday, August 26, 2010

What's For Dinner: Spring Asparagus and Pancetta Fettucine

I found this recipe on the Tasty Kitchen site and I just had to try it.  I am still having issues with the Meatless Monday menu but after we tried this, I realized this could have been meatless very easily.

It's called Spring Asparagus and Pancetta Fettuccine and the recipe is posted here but that is not exactly what I made.

I didn't have Pancetta on hand so I used bacon.  Pancetta is similar to bacon in saltiness and thickness and are both pork so I figure it would be fine, and it was.  However, I plan to make this again with out any meat at all.  It was nice to have the bacon but it was not necessary by any means.

I did not get a picture of the the ingredients list but here it is anyway:

150 grams (about 1/4 lb) Pancetta, thick cut - again, I used bacon
4 tablespoons butter - divided into 1 tbsp and 3 tbsp
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1/4 whole medium red onion, diced - I picked up a red onion for this dish but I don't typically have them on hand.  I do, however, have a yellow onion in my pantry at all times.  The yellow onion would have been just fine.
1 pound Crimini Mushrooms, sliced - my Cub Foods did not have Crimini Mushrooms so I used baby Bella's - YUM!  And I only used 8 ounces because that is what comes in one package and that was plenty.
1 pound Asparagus, trimmed of stems and cut into 1 inch chunks - Do you know how to easily trim asparagus?  Take 1 stem and snap it, use that as a guide to cut off the rest the bottoms.  This is the fastest way!
4 liters Water - Do you measure the water when you boil noodles?  I don't.  You really just need a pot of water to boil the pasta.
375 grams whole wheat fettuccine or linguine - I had neither so I used angel hair.  About 3/4 pound.
1/2 cups Parmesan Cheese, Finely Grated
Salt to Taste
Fresh Ground Pepper - I prefer fresh ground so I buy the McCormick's Pepper Grinder.  But regular black pepper would work if that's what you have on hand.

I had a heck of a time keeping Heidi out of this plate.

The directions call for using a small pan to cook the bacon and a large skillet to cook the veggies.  Well, I am a one pot lady so using three was completely out of the question.  I used my favorite large, non-stick pan for both the bacon and the veggies.

I removed the bacon from the pan and then the phone rang.  When I got back to the pan, I tossed in 1 tablespoon of butter, the onions, and garlic.  That's when I realized I had not removed the bacon grease from the pan.  Oops.  Too late!  So, I sauteed everything in one tablespoon of butter and about 3 tablespoons of bacon grease.

Here is the three tablespoons of butter.

Not a great picture of the end result but it really was very good.

This easily could have been made without the bacon to be a meatless meal.  Next time I will saute the veggies in Olive Oil, not butter, because I like the fats in Olive Oil better.

I think there is some wiggle room in the ingredient list, like I mentioned in the list above but overall this is a solid dish that will be added to my rotation.

It served two adult dinner portions, one child portion, and two adult lunch portions.  We could have served four adults or stretched it to five or six by adding more noodles or some french bread on the side.


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