Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quick and Easy #3

My ambitions for posting these recipes every day were a little unrealistic, I think.

But here's another one anyway!

I got this recipe from my trusty friend, Design Sponge. D*S got this recipe from a gal by the name of Kate Flaim, whose personal blog is chock-full right now of fast and fresh dinner ideas-- the main lists of ingredients comprised mostly of locally grown veggies from her weekly CSA box.

Today's meal is Kate Flaim's Absorption Pasta. It's so light and flavorful and I can't wait to try some of the winter season variations that she mentions on the original D*S post.

One modification I'll mention first is that Kate calls for 2-3 slices of chopped pancetta, which is then cooked until crispy, the fat drained off, and mixed in with the pasta near the end. I'm not a bacon-flavor person (I've never liked bacon), so I substituted chopped proscuitto for a milder flavor. I will list the ingredients with proscuitto, but revert to pancetta if you prefer a bacon flavor.

Serves: 4-6
Total time: 30 min.

  • 3/4 lb. penne (I used whole wheat penne for more nutrition)
  • 2 finely sliced shallots or 1/2 white, yellow, or brown onion, very finely sliced
  • 4-5 sliced of proscuitto, chopped
  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • 1/3 c. crumbled feta
  • Zest of one lemon (Save the rest of the lemon for garnish)
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for sauteing 

  1. Cut 1-2 inches off the end of your asparagus. Then cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths, keeping the stalk parts separate from the tips (they will need to cook for different amounts of time).
  2. Saute the shallots/onions in a drizzle of olive oil until soft and lightly browning, 1-2 minutes. When shallots soften, add penne and stir the penne around to toast it just a little. 
  3. Pour in 2.5-3 cups of the chicken stock. The stock should come just barely to the level of the pasta. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and then reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally for 5-7 minutes. 
  4. After 5-7 minutes, the chicken stock should be about half-absorbed by the pasta. Keep stirring occasionally to allow all the pasta to be coated by the absorbing chicken stock. Toss in the stalk parts of the asparagus and stir them into the pasta. Let cook, stirring more frequently as the stock cooks away, for 2-3 more minutes.
  5. When the pasta is getting close to done (keep testing the pasta as you stir), add the asparagus tips. 
  6. You don't want the pan to get totally dry, so add a splash or two of the extra stock if things start to dry out. The pasta should be coated with a silky-sticky-barely-there "sauce". The starch in the pasta is what helps to thicken the stock that hasn't boiled away completely. 
  7. When the pasta is al-dente, remove from the heat and stir in half of the feta, half of the proscuitto, and half of the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  8. To serve, dish the pasta onto plates and top each serving with more feta, more proscuitto, and more lemon zest. I love fresh lemon, so I serve each plate with an extra lemon wedge to squeeze over. 

If you try this recipe and you like it, check out Kate's original post on Design Sponge for the winter variations I mentioned. Can't wait to try those-- especially her sausage and kale suggestion!

1 comment:

  1. That looks very interesting. Never seen pasta cooked that way. I'll have to try it!