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Penne with Asparagus, Sage and Peas (April Food & Wine)

We just made this dish for dinner tonight and it was EXCELLENT! Now, here's the funny part. I specifically went to the store to buy fresh sage and promptly forgot to add it as we were cooking. I did add about 1/4 pound of pancetta to the dish and am glad I did. I did not add any butter, nor did we miss it. I substituted light cream for heavy. And, though the asparagus isn't native and the peas were frozen, what a fresh, springy dish! Am enjoying my second glass of Case al Vento Vernaccio as I type--nice (and inexpensive, if memory serves) accompaniment.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pe...

Here's another good one we made recently--Angel Hair Pasta with Crab and Country Ham:
http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/an...

I've gotta say, I love cooking from Food & Wine. How about you? Any recipes you've tried lately that are shareworthy?

>>^..^<<

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    1. I also made it this week, for ourselves as well as for a client and it was a huge hit. I didn't add pancetta as the client is vegetarian and I thoroughly enjoyed the light, springy taste combination. I did add a little lemon zest though - YUM

      7 Replies
      1. re: maisonbistro

        Oooh, I LOVE lemon zest! Nice touch! So glad spring is here (even if it doesn't feel like it outside). :)

        1. re: maisonbistro

          maisonbistro: Made this again tonight, this time with lemon zest...oh, and the sage we forgot last time. ;) The lemon zest was SUCH an excellent addition. I had to write again to let you know. Thank you!

          1. re: kattyeyes

            Lemon zest makes a huge difference, doesn't it? At the price of lemons, I' still makethe investment.

            1. re: kattyeyes

              Isn't it incredible how one little ingredient can make a huge difference? Glad you liked it.

              If you like this kind of dish, I HIGHLY recommed : oven roasted asparagus Lasagna - you can find the recipe on the food network (US) site, and it's from Sara Moulton - so Gourmet magazine. It is one of my favourite dishes.

              1. re: maisonbistro

                It IS (amazing)! I will look for the oven roasted asparagus lasagna per your recommendation and try that soon. Thanks again! :)

                1. re: maisonbistro

                  I love the oven roasted asparagus lasagna recipe too. I morphed it into a baked ziti for a big party for my mother's 80th birthday and it was more popular than the baked ziti with meat.

                  1. re: mr99203

                    <<it was more popular than the baked ziti with meat.>>

                    Gosh, I'd hope so! ;) No offense to ziti with meat lovers, but I'm sure the roasted asparagus dish was a welcome change from the same-ol'-same-ol'! I also like the idea of doing it as a ziti bake as it's less "fussy" than lasagna. Both are great ideas that I hope to try when native asparagus arrives.

            2. Try blanched asparagus tossed in your pasta of choice with just a touch of lemon juice and zest, a good extra virgin olive oil. Serve it in a deep bowl with a well flavoured mushroom broth and go ahead and shave some parmesan or grana padano over the top. If you have it, a good quality white truffle oil takes it to a completely different level.

              4 Replies
              1. re: coliwoggle

                Sounds good--thanks! And I'm sure you're right about the truffle oil.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  I too made this dish and added a bit of lemon zest (before reading this post, haha) and loved it. It is the perfect dish to get me in the mood for spring, even if it doesn't feel like it outside.

                  1. re: kubasd

                    Great minds really DO think alike (lemon zest!). ;) And, yeah, I'd like a cheerful refund for my "spring" weather today. GEEZ!

                    1. re: kubasd

                      decided i was going to add lemon zest to the recipe before i read the post, too! now it is certain. think i'll toss in a few artichoke hearts as well.

                2. I made this over the weekend,adding pancetta as you suggeested and at the end added juice from 1/2 of a lemon(too lazy to zest).It was very good and will definitely make it again, but the asparagus was kind of soggy.I like it crunchier.Any suggestions to amend the process to get the asparagus crunchier.I may have cooked it too long at each stage.How did the asparagus come out for everyone else? Thanks.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: foodnwine

                    So glad you liked it with the pancetta. But, hmm, no mushy asparagus here. Maybe just set a timer to be sure too much time doesn't slip by during each stage for the next go-round? I know that probably seems anal, but I always do it with pasta as I hate when it's overcooked.

                    1. re: foodnwine

                      Asparagus cooks very quickly despite the fact that it looks hearty.

                      I always blanch it first in a large amount of boiling salted water for 30 seconds or so and then transfer it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. After you've dained and dried it you can then add it at the very last stage just to warm it through.

                      It's all about control.

                      1. re: coliwoggle

                        Thanks.I've done this with risotto and it's worked well.I just followed the recipe with this one but probably cooked it a bit longer than recommended .Using a timer seems practical,not anal.This was a very tasty dish and will try it again keeping better track of time.

                        1. re: foodnwine

                          <<Using a timer seems practical,not anal.>>

                          Thank you kindly--I think so, too! :)

                    2. Oh yum! I had a variation on this--without the pasta--last week, and it was delicious!