Pasta with Spring Vegetables
1/2 lb. penne pasta (or ziti, or favorite cut pasta shape)
8 ounces, frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (or canned, rinsed)
olive oil for sautéing, plus more for drizzling
1 large shallot, peeled and diced
4 ounces pancetta, diced
5-6 asparagus stalks, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2-inch)
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
Place a pasta pot of water on the high heat. When boiling, salt water and add pasta.
Slice the artichokes hearts into 4 or 5 slices per heart. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shallot and pancetta. Cook until shallot is softened and pancetta is cooked through. Add the sliced artichoke hearts and cut asparagus. Add a little more olive oil if too dry. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Season with salt & pepper. Add cream and toss to coat.
When pasta is done, reserve a half cup of pasta water, then drain pasta and add pasta to skillet with artichoke sauce. Stir to coat pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes until flavors combine. Add a little pasta water if it needs moistening. Serve hot. Add some grated cheese to individual servings.
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