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Creamy Asparagus & Pancetta Penne Pasta (adjusted)

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Creamy Asparagus and Pancetta Penne
Cooking Light Magazine ~ March, 2016 issue
(Hands-on: 45 min. Total: 45 min.)

2 T. All-purpose Flour
2 T. Butter, softened
1 t. Olive Oil
2 oz. Chopped Pancetta (I used bacon)
8 oz. Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
¼ c. White Wine
1 t. Salt, divided
4 c. Unsalted Chicken Stock
3 c. 1% Milk, divided
12 oz. Uncooked Whole-Wheat Penne (I used regular Corkscrew Macaroni)
1 Bay Leaf
1 c. Frozen Green Peas
12 oz. Asparagus, trimmed & cut into 2” pieces
1 T. Chopped Fresh Thyme
3T. Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 t. Zested Lemon Rind
¾ t. Black Pepper
1) Combine flour & butter in a bowl until a paste forms.
2) Place a large, high-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pancetta (bacon); cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until browned and liquid evaporates. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring to loosen browned bits. Stir in ¼ t. salt. Transfer mixture to a plate.
3) Add stock, 2 cups milk, penne (corkscrew pasta), and bay leaf to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas, asparagus and ¼ t. salt, remaining 1 c. milk, and thyme; cook 2 minutes. Add butter-flour paste, in pieces, stirring constantly to combine and thicken. Remove from heat; stir in mushroom mixture, parsley, lemon rind, and black pepper.
Serves 6 (serving size about 1 ½ cups) ~ Calories 397, Fat 11.8 g


Bethk wrote:Creamy Asparagus and Pancetta Penne
Cooking Light Magazine ~ March, 2016 issue

Sounds good, Beth, though I rarely use a paste like that to thicken something.  I'd start with the butter portion to cook the mushrooms, and then add the flour portion to it and cook it a bit before proceeding.  I always find the flavor of flour is better when it's cooked a bit.  But then that's just my personal taste.  

Am laughing here, as I know I wouldn't use the 1% milk either but rather cream or Half-and-Half.  That, too, is personal taste and neither one of us is dieting, though I realize I just took the "light" of the recipe!  But since I've been ill, I can't seem to put on any weight, though I managed to gain some to please my cardiologist, as I lost way too much before getting used to the pain caused when my vertebrae crack; I just can't eat when I'm in dire pain.  Have to admit, though, that it was fun stuffing myself to try to put on some weight...

This sounds really good and makes my mouth water just talking about it.  I must've missed your comments on this but I gather you and Dane liked it, right?


I liked it a lot, Michelle, HE, not so much. But keep in mind ~ the only meat is the two ounces of bacon. I made a half recipe, which would have been 1 slice of bacon....I 'cheated' and cooked off two because I like the flavor. The pasta is cooked in the stock/milk in the pot and not drained. That's one of the ways to make it 'creamy'. As fo the milk, I did not have any 1%, only whole, so I cut back on the milk and used additional chicken, sue me. (And I didn't tell HIM about it)

But the combination of mushrooms (wine soaked as they were), asparagus & peas was quite nice with the pasta. There was just a hint of meat. If I make it again I'll probably add a chopped carrot just to bring up the color factor.

The butter/flour combination is added at the very end of the cooking time. Just enough to tighten up the sauce a bit. The reason you don't add it with the mushrooms is they are removed after browning and don't go back until after the pasta is cooked. I used my 12" non-stick Calphalon wok to make this ~ one of my favorite pans to cook with. It's deep enough to make a 1-pot meal, has a heavy bottom to brown and I have a lid that fits for when needed.....

The shape of the pasta is, IMO, pretty important. The curly corkscrew pasta was bulky enough to let you know you were eating pasta, better even than the rough penne called for in the recipe. And cooking the pasta in the pan and not draining gave it some real sticking power to keep the creamy sauce attached.

Altogether, it was a 'success' for a new recipe. I still like my BLT Pasta better (the one with bacon, spinach & grape tomatoes) but HE doesn't like it anymore. I'm sure it has to do with the lack of real meat. But, geeze louise, it's OK to go one meal without meat. If he's hungry when I finally do decided to make it, he'll eat it. If not, he can fix himself a pack of tunafish.....LOL


Brian is the EXACT same way about meat, Beth, so I know what you mean.  He'll even comment about there not being enough meat in the meal when I make a stir-fry!

Your wok sounds great.  I recently purchased a 13-inch non-stick wok made of hard-anodized aluminum; it came with a 13-inch steamer that stacks on top of the wok (and I also got an extra steamer that can stack on top of that).  I love this pan and so does Brian.  We use it constantly, I swear.  It's much lighter than I'm used to (good for me with my PH) and the top is glass with a little hole in it so you can view it without raising the top if you want; the tiny hole allows you to actually see inside the pan while cooking so steam is not a problem.  I have a 14-inch carbon steel wok that I've had for almost 40 years but I wanted a bigger steamer lately and this one is not only big, it's deep so that makes it more versatile than even the steamer insert I was picturing.  Plus the lid works well on my 12-inch All-Clad saute pan AND my 12-inch cast iron skillet (the pan is heavy enough so even though I wanted a lid for the pot, I didn't purchase the cast iron lid)!

Thanks for letting me know how you liked it.

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