Last night had all the makings of a great night - a shower, a hot steamy evening (thank you tropical weather) and the decadence of pancetta. Tenderness guarantee, right? WRONG. BUT, the pasta was deeeelish. Like, make it for a co-worker you want to impress with your culinary prowess. Or when you have someone who thinks they are better than you over for dinner. Oh really, person who thinks they're better than me? Have you tried this awesome fucking pasta? Just do not use this pasta on the path to tenderness, for that road is fraught with peril and early morning golf games.
Also, as a tenderness-related-P.S. and a heavily nostalgic note, I've been listening to the epic first wives' club "you don't own me" every morning while teeth brushing and/or bed making and I'd say it has improved my life at least 17%. If we add in my frequent bacon-product use, we might be up to a solid 20% improvement overall. The potent combo of feminist empowerment and grease should never be underestimated. Anyways, every day should start out that awesome and end off with pancetta...trust me.
Finally, some alterations: I usually add a bit more lemon because I think it is more fresh and delicious that way. I substitute the whipping cream for whatever 1% or 2% milk I have in the fridge (add a bit less.) And I never add peas to this dish because I find them suspicious and gross, but if you're into that then go wild. Hope you lovers enjoy. xo
12 ounces fettuccine or penne
3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh green peas, blanched 1 minute in boiling water, drained, or 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
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
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
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 pancetta in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta 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; 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, 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 pancetta, remaining parsley, and basil over. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese.