Like Sam Sifton, I look for any excuse to cook with noodles. The NYT‘s food writer scarcely lets a week go by without posting a pasta recipe. I like that in a food writer.
I recently came upon Melissa Clark’s recipes for fettuccine with asparagus and crème fraîche. The idea was to use early garden vegetables: peas, asparagus, onions and parsley. Hmm. . . for a moment, I thought I had all the ingredients without a store run. Well, that is, if I subbed yogurt for the crème fraîche, as was suggested.
I even had some lively asparagus and parsley from Soulard market. The dish looked so good, that I deemed it worth a special store run for the few remaining items I needed. So, off to the super market I went. Fortunately, it’s only five minutes away; three if I catch all the stop lights.
Amazing!!! This dish is as fresh and lively as spring itself. No wonder the recipe got nearly 800 positive online reviews!
Pasta Primavera with Asparagus and Peas
- ¼ lb. sugar snap peas, stems trimmed
- ½ lb. asparagus, ends snapped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup fresh English peas (I used frozen)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced spring onion, white part only (or use shallot)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt, more as needed
- Black pepper, more as needed
- 12 oz. fettuccine or tagliatelle, fresh or dried
- ⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, at room temperature
- ½ cup crème fraîche or whole milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature*
- 3 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
- Just a pinch of dried tarragon
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
- While the water is coming to a boil, slice snap peas and asparagus stems into 1/4-inch-thick pieces; leave asparagus tips whole.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add snap peas, asparagus, English peas and onion. Cook until vegetables are barely tender (but not too soft or mushy), 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
- Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente (1 to 3 minutes for fresh pasta, more for dried pasta). Drain well and transfer pasta to a large bowl. Immediately toss pasta with vegetables, Parmigiano-Reggiano, crème fraîche and herbs.
* A number of those commenting suggested using a bit of olive oil and lemon zest in place of the crème fraîche to lighten the dish. Also, if dish appears dry, add some reserved cooking water from noodles. Season generously with salt and pepper, if needed. I also subbed small frozen peas for the English peas. (Lightly adapted from Melissa Clark)