When it rains, it pours. Sometimes hard enough to make the window well in your basement swell to the point of flooding. Sometimes so hard it requires all the towels in the house. Only then do you reach for a roll of Bounty, the quicker picker upper, because that’s all that’s left. Sometimes it storms so loud, the electricity shudders, administering a final blow to the ancient hard drive in your computer. Sometimes the farmers market gets rained out, and the farmers call their weeks worth of produce, of income, a wash.
Sometimes when it rains, it pours. That’s the truth. But it’s also true—the rain eventually stops. The sidewalks dry up and so does the basement. The grass grows 10 inches taller overnight, and the tree limbs become heavy with a lush green canopy. The birds start chirping first. They must know. And then, the sun comes out. I think that’s how this whole thing works.
I like to think about life, especially the sour, lemony moments, as that perspective drawing from my eighth grade art class. During the rain, I imagine myself sitting right in front of the wall, trying to draw the perspective. It’s nothing but a dark rectangle. But you scoot back and see a little more. Scoot back again—oh, there’s the ceiling. And again, until you have perspective. That’s a lesson I learned becoming a mom for the first time. It rained really hard for a lot of days. At least in my head. I’m certain I spent my first 2 years of motherhood standing right in front of that dark wall, as if I’d put myself in time out.
The rain always stops. That’s the perspective I’m trying to keep these days. And when it does, you meet the farmer with a weeks worth of unsold produce. You donate liberally because you know the feeling of rain while picking up a bag of his radish sprouts. That’s when you find good use for that sour lemon in the fridge. That, plus a little butter, a tangle of noodles, and halved asparagus, is how you get perspective. Rainy spring pasta. As if it were only that easy. Time is generous, though. I think we find our drawing positions faster, at the end of hall where there’s perspective. Because it’s true—the rain always stops. Even after it pours.
Buttery, lemony spring pasta, accentuated with radish sprouts and shaved parmesan. Heavy spring rains make for the brightest produce.
1 lb. fettuccini noodles
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. asparagus
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. lemon juice
a couple cracks fresh pepper
Make the pasta. In a dutch oven or stock pot, fill 2/3 full of water. Bring to a boil. Just before adding the noodles, liberally salt the water. Follow package instructions, cooking until al dente. Drain.
While the pasta cooks, carefully halve the asparagus longways. Once the pasta is done, cook the asparagus in the same pot. Turn heat to medium-high. Once warm, add in oil. Toss in asparagus and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Asparagus is done when the spears begin to bend like noodles. Add butter to the pot. Once melted, add in the cooked noodles, lemon juice, remaining 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and a couple cracks of pepper. Cook for 2 minutes more until noodles are evenly coated. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Plate and garnish with a handful of radish sprouts and a sprinkle of shaved parmesan.