One for the
record recipe books!!
I recently acquired 1/2 lb. thick-cut applewood smoked bacon. I am not going to tell you how — just trust me when I say I did. Just kidding, I wanted to sound all tough and like I know stuff…but I am really not and I don’t. Well, I know stuff…about bacon. For instance, when you purchase your bacon from a man who stands behind a butcher’s counter it is like buying a cookie from a baker and Krispy Kreme when the red light is on … well you get the picture. It is so much better than when it’s sold in a shrink-wrapped package under fluorescent lighting. What makes bacon better? I really don’t know “what”, I just know it “is”. So that’s the inspiration for this recipe — bacon at the butcher’s counter. So the moral of the story, buy bacon from a butcher.
Once I got my hands on my bacon, I couldn’t stop thinking about bacon + pappardelle + asparagus. Today was the day they all met in a tasty white wine cream sauce and it was good, it was great — so much so that it must be recorded for future
In an effort to lighten the recipe without totally stealing all of the saucy richness, I subbed chicken broth and a good white wine for 2/3 of the sauce liquid. This makes the recipe a little more moody than it would have been if I had used all cream. ((Cream won’t break, meaning the milk fats and milk proteins hold together much tighter in cream than in any other lighter version of milk…well cream may break if you are rough with it — but isn’t that true for all of us?)) In light of lightening it up (haha), I had to do a few extra things I wouldn’t normally do – and that made a few extra dishes dirty, but whatever.
1 – I added the asparagus and the spring peas to the broth & wine for 3 minutes — then removed them from the liquid and set them aside so they wouldn’t over cook.
2 – I continued cooking the bacon and onions in a separate braiser in an effort to render out more fat and crisp the bacon more.
3 – I added 2 T of ‘Heart Spicy Brown’ Grey Poupon mustard to the sauce as an extra emulsifying agent (it helps keep the sauce from breaking).
4 – I kept a close eye on the sauce, raising and lowering the cooking heat to ensure the sauce didn’t break.
5 – I added 1/2 c of pasta water to the sauce and then added the cooked pasta directly to the sauce. Both of these steps were done in an effort to thicken the sauce with the pasta water starches rather adding more cream to thicken.
- 1 12 oz bag of pappardelle pasta, uncooked
- 1/2 lb applewood smoked bacon, thick-cut
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 T butter
- 2 T hearty spicy brown Grey Poupon mustard
- 2 c chicken broth
- 10 oz white wine
- 1/2 pint heavy cream
- zest of one lemon
- 1 lb fresh asparagus
- 1 12 oz bag spring peas, frozen
- 1/2 c flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare pasta according to package instructions. ((You must time it so the pasta and the sauce are done at the exact same time or else the whole recipe is ruined -- just kidding, but try to get them done as close as possible to each other.))
- Cook bacon in a large braiser until crisp, but not burned. Remove bacon and allow to drain on a paper towel. Using another paper towel, wipe out remaining bacon drippings and toss the paper towel in the trash. Add onions to the bacon braiser, cook for 3-5 minutes then add the garlic & cook another 2 minutes.
- Add butter, broth, white wine & mustard bringing the liquid to a simmer, stirring until smooth.
- Add asparagus and peas. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then remove and set aside to keep them from over-cooking (you want them to stay bright green and crisp).
- Add the cream to the broth and allow to come to a low boil (keep a close eye on it to ensure to doesn't boil too hard and risk breaking). Add lemon zest.
- When pasta in done cooking, reserve 1 c. of pasta liquid and then drain the pasta. Add about half of the reserved pasta water to the sauce. Continue at a low boil allowing to thicken slightly. (It will still be pretty brothy). Add cooked pasta to the sauce, top with cooked asparagus, peas and parsley. Add bacon, give it all a good toss to combine (add more pasta water if needed or discard remaining water) salt and pepper to taste and serve.