Pasta with Asparagus and Bacon

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Spring is, in theory, here and I wanted to make a nice, quick and relatively light dish to use up some first of the season asparagus that I had and I had a hankering for pasta, so I figured that I would do a rift off a classic peas and prosciutto pasta using asparagus and bacon.

The Software
3/4 lb of pasta (rotini or penne are good choices for this)
1 lb asparagus – cut into 1/2 inch pieces, woody parts removed
5 slices bacon
1 tablespoon bacon fat (reserved from cooking the bacon)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup white wine or vermouth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 shot (1 1/2 oz) cognac
1/4 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
2 – 3 oz grated cheese (I used half and half pecorino Romano and parmigiano reggiano)
salt
pepper

The Recipe
Bring water to a boil for pasta. Add salt. Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain but do not rinse. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
In a large sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until done. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Remove bacon fat from pan and reserve 1 tablespoon. Don’t wipe the pan after removing fat. When cooled, dice bacon into small pieces and set aside.

The finished product making good use of the season's bounty.

Raise heat to medium high and add asparagus and sprinkle with salt. Cook until it begins to soften and brown, about 3-4 minutes depending on the size of the stalks. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the tablespoon of reserved bacon fat and onions to the pan. Saute the onions for 4-5 minutes until they begin to brown.
Reduce heat to medium and carefully add the stock, wine and cognac. Return heat to medium-high and bring to a boil for 4-5 minutes.
Add pasta and 1/2 of the cream. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add asparagus and cheese. Cook for about 2 minutes until the asparagus heats back up.
Add remaining cream, garlic and bacon and cook for an additional 45 seconds to a minute, stirring constantly.
For more sauce or if the sauce is too thick, add small amounts of the pasta water as necessary.
Taste – add salt and pepper as necessary.
Serve an enjoy

Notes
The sauce is meant to coat the pasta rather than drown it, so this doesn’t produce a great deal of sauce, but it has a ton of flavor as the past a will absorb a good deal of the liquid from the pan when it is put in and produce a very thick and creamy sauce. You can use almost any white wine to cook with in this recipe, but I really like the sweetness that vermouth brings to the dish. The bacon is really optional, but hey, everything is better with bacon.

I also happened to notice that Thursday Night Smackdown posted a variation of this recipe recently. I swear I wrote this before I saw TNSD’s version.

2 comments to Pasta with Asparagus and Bacon

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