Thursday, May 22, 2014

Asparagus, Bacon, and Leek Pasta

The farm
I love our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture); this year we joined the Fair Share Farm CSA.  One of the requirements of the CSA (for a full share) is to work three shifts on the farm. The Sokols went and worked our half of a day on the farm. And when I say work, I mean work. The farm is absolutely beautiful. The farm is neat and tidy-- kind of like the way Cold Comfort Farm was at the end of the movie. We loved harvesting the veggies -- I don't consider that work. The work started when we started pulling up the row covers and the hoops that held them. Katie at the beginning of our shift wanted to live on the farm and by the end of the shift was happy with her assigned chores at home (yes, we are those kind of parents- we require our child to do chores).
Our work (well really everyone else's work) paid off when we got our first share: goat cheese, lettuces, herbs, asparagus, and leeks. I must say it was some of the best looking lettuce I have ever seen. I always want asparagus and leeks. I traded the bok choy for more lettuce. I just can't warm up to bok choy. Maybe someone out there has a recipe they love. If so, please send it to me. Thanks- in advance.
Beautiful lettuce
Our first night we had a butter lettuce salad with warm goat cheese, beets, pears, pecans, and a balsamic vinegar glaze. Yes, it was incredible. (For the warm goat cheese take some goat cheese and form into a disc cover with panko crumbs and sauté in butter and for the beets drizzle with olive oil and add some crushed pepper and roast until a tin foil pouch at 375F/ 190C/ Gas Mark 5 until they are tender; cool and slice. The time depends on the size of beet). I actually buy a balsamic vinegar glaze and just dress my salads with it. I love it.
Beet and warm goat cheese salad
I spent more time on what to do with the leeks and asparagus and came up with this pasta. Please use pancetta or think cut good quality bacon for this recipe (actually you should always use good quality bacon).
More CSA produce
Asparagus, Bacon, and Leek Pasta

1 lb (.45 kg) of uncooked pasta
4 Slices Thick Cut Bacon, Diced
1 1/2 Tbsp of Butter
3 Leeks, Thinly Sliced
A Bunch of Asparagus, Chopped
3/4 Cup (177 ml) of Half and Half or Whipping Cream
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
A Dash or Two of Cayenne, Optional
Parmesan Cheese, Grated

Slice the bacon and cook over medium heat until it is starting to get crisp. I like to throw in a pat of butter with the bacon.  Meanwhile cook pasta, reserve 1/2 cup (118 ml) of pasta water. Add the leeks and asparagus (and some salt and pepper) to bacon and cook until leeks are tender.
All kinds of good stuff in the skillet
Lower heat and add the half and half and reserved pasta water.
Adding the half and half and reserved pasta water
Lower heat and simmer under asparagus is desired tenderness. Add a bit of cayenne. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add pasta to sauce and stir until covered in sauce. Top with cheese and serve.
The finished dish
The bottom lone: will I make it again? Yes, incredible pasta. My family loved it.

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