Introduction: Very Green Asparagus Pasta

Serves 4 to 6

As we enter into spring, no time is better than now to enjoy wonderful tender stalks of asparagus.  This pasta dish highlights the asparagus, using 2 lbs in order to really make its point.  Cheese, cream, bacon, and shallots all just serve to enhance the asparagus flavor.  It's elegant enough for a dinner party as well.

Step 1: Ingredients

4 oz bacon, chopped into tiny pieces, excess fat trimmed if desired (you need some for it to be yummy, but you can cut some off)
1 pound pasta like penne, farfalle, rotini, fusilli
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 lbs of asparagus, cut into ½ inch pieces
Freshly ground pepper
¾ cup of heavy cream OR ½ cup chicken stock for a dairy free option
½ cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano to sprinkle on top
Salt and pepper to taste

Step 2: Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, in a fry pan, over medium high heat, cook bacon until it is golden and crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and allow bacon to drain on a paper towel.

Step 3: Method

In the same pot you cooked the pasta, heat olive oil and add chopped shallots and cook for 30 seconds, and add asparagus all at once.  Cook asparagus until it is bright green and tender, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.   Remove from heat.  Add pasta and toss together.  Add cream (or chicken stock) and mix together until all the pasta is coated.  

Serve with cheese.