The other day I was whinging over Instant Message to Mrs. Underhill.
I’d had lunch at a restaurant near work, and they’d made a pasta with Sicilian Cous Cous, Asparagus, Fava Beans, Fennel, Spring Onions and Pancetta.
I was kind of disappointed that the vegetable mix was pre-cooked.
Here you have ingredients that could be served in a 3 star restaurant and they are ruining them by pre-cooking them. To make matters worse, they weren’t really saving any time.
I thought I could do better, and told Mrs. Underhill so.
She said, “Oh, yeah, Mr. Cheffy Chef, let’s see it. Whip it out.” Or words to that effect.
Weeknight dinners don’t lend themselves to fava beans, so I subbed in Edamame.
Spring Vegetable Pasta
1/2 bunch Asparagus, in sliced on the bias, about 1″
1/4 Pound Pancetta, thick sliced, roughly chopped
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 bag frozen Edamame
crushed chile flakes
1/2 cup Chicken Stock, water, or vegetable stock
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh marjoram
salt and freshly ground pepper
Goat Milk Feta Cheese
8 oz Linguine
Heat water for pasta.
Heat pan, add olive oil, and saute asparagus until fragrant and bright green, seasoning with salt. Remove from pan.
Heat pan again, and add olive oil. Add Pancetta and saute until it begins to give up oil. Add fennel and onion. Season with salt and crushed chili flakes cook until tender. Add Edamame, thyme, marjoram, and chicken stock, cover and saute until beans are tender.
Drop pasta in rapidly boiling water.
With a spoon or mashed potato masher, mash a portion of the beans. Pull linguini from water and drop into veggies adding some pasta water if it seems dry. Add reserved asparagus and toss. Briefly cook to allow pasta to absorb flavors, and stir in most of the feta, reserving some to top the dishes.
Serve in warm pasta bowls and top with a little more crumbled feta and black pepper. A loaf of crusty bread, a light red wine, and dinner is done.
Not bad, if I don’t say so myself. I didn’t even mind having almost the same thing twice in one day.