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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.


Here's another good one we made recently--Angel Hair Pasta with Crab and Country Ham:

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!

                    1. I'm so glad you wrote about this b/c I saw this on the cover of the magazine and was wondering if it was good, or bland. Thanks for writing about this!

                      1 Reply
                      1. This is on my catering menu and has been for 4 years, well with a few changes. I use angle hair for mine, I also add lemon zest which I think as many stated would help. I add a bit a squeezed lemon at the end, I add just a little pancetta, lightly sauteed and some a few shitaki mushrooms for a bit heartier. The recipe over all is very good but to me I like pasta a bit heartier unless just a side dish, but that is just my opinion. I think the lemon is key, the shitaki I do because I love mushrooms and pancetta I add for many clients, but love the heartier pasta which I haven't used before which I will try.

                        1. I saw this and had planned ot try it when I could get some fresh peas, but I guess I can just use frozen. As for food and wine recipes, I just recently made an old fave from food and wine, pasta with mussels and pernod cream sauce:
                          I love this ( and do not really like pernod) so dont let that deter you.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: cassoulady

                            I love fresh peas and had a garden growing up ... Now baby petite frozen peas are good for me. To me almost as good. Frozen spinach is also my other use. Not always, but sometimes.

                            1. re: cassoulady

                              I'm sure fresh peas are fab, and if that were possible, I'd love to use them, but I wouldn't hesitate to use frozen ones. That's what I've used both times so far.

                              Keep those good F&W recipes comin'--thanks!

                            2. Do you think if I made this for a baby shower it will hold well. Shower is at 1pm, I will be dropping off food around 12 noon to host. I would imagine they would start eating around 1:30-2. Also, if I am doubling pasta should I double the sauce. Don't think I will double Asp & Peas because I AM SICK OF GOING TO STORE!! Your imput will be appreciated.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mbfergie

                                Oooh, nice thought, but with the cream in the dish, I don't think this would be a good idea to hold for an hour and a half before serving. But I would double the sauce if you double the pasta.

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  Ditto with kattyeyes, double sauce, however ... a cream sauce is more difficult for serving after sitting. Go with a vinaigrette based sauce.

                                  You could always add the cream close to serving. I understand how it should be added. But I have done this and taken the cheese and cream to a party and then reheated it just on a stove or even the micro (I hate to use it but it can work, just for a quick reheat on low) add the cream and cheese and toss. It is certainly not the best wait, but I have done it. The pasta when fresh cooked soaks up the cream and cheese and it sticks to the pasta, but a reheat can work if you are sold on making this pasta.

                                  I did one similar for a BBQ a few weeks ago. Turned out ok, most people thought it was great, I knew a little difference, but it was still good.

                              2. funny- i pulled out the april issue yesterday because i remembered the cover recipe. just stumbled upon this post so glad to see someone made it and enjoyed it, so that's what i'm cooking tonight! need to use that hefty bag of asparagus from costco!

                                1. I am making this tonight, no pancetta, yes on lemon zest. i will report back on how it is!