Recipe from The Minimalist Kitchen. This pasta recipe is salty from the bacon, sweet from the peas and wine, and peppery from the arugula and red pepper flakes. If I’m not serving a side salad, I like to go ahead and top my pasta with greens. They soften slightly from the heat but not to the point of wilty, a texture I don’t care for. I love the efficiency of this recipe—reusing pans and cooking asparagus in the leftover bacon fat. It just works.
- 3 c. short-grain pasta
- kosher salt for salting water
- 1 c. frozen peas
Bacon + Asparagus:
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), woody ends removed, and chopped into 2-inch segments
- 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
White Wine Sauce:
- 1 tsbp. salted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 c. sweet white wine (like Moscato)
- 1⁄4 c. heavy cream
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- a couple cracks of pepper
- 1 c. arugula
- red pepper flakes
- grated parmesan
Cook the pasta. Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with water; bring to a boil. Liberally salt the water just before adding in the noodles. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente, stirring in the peas with 4 minutes remaining. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta water in a liquid measuring cup.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon. In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and place on paper towels. Once cooled, chop the bacon. Carefully remove some of the leftover fat in the pan with a paper towel and discard. Add the asparagus and salt to the pan; cook for about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
Make the sauce. In the saucepan used to cook the noodles, heat the pan over medium and add the butter. Once melted, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the flour until evenly combined and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour in the reserved pasta water, wine, and all the remaining sauce ingredients, and whisk to combine. (If you forgot to reserve the water, it happens, use stock.) Cook for about 3 minutes until thickened. Add the pasta and peas back in. Cook for 2 minutes more to coat the noodles. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
To serve, divide the pasta evenly among plates. Top the pasta with the asparagus, bacon, and arugula. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and red pepper, if desired.
Make this a vegetarian dish by leaving out the bacon. Instead, cook the asparagus in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.