Asparagus is arguably the best thing about spring. Its peak season only lasts from April to July, so I try to make the most of it.
At the market, choose asparagus stems that are not too thick, and whose flowered tips are tightly closed. When you get your asparagus home, store it in the back of your fridge, away from the light (bright light kills the folate).
Note to all you expectant moms: eat lots of asparagus! Its rich in folate which your baby needs for healthy early development! (It’s also high in fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A, C, and B6)
Orecchiette with asparagus, bacon, and onions; serves 4
Chop up 8 slices of bacon into a rough dice and cook in a non-stick skillet until crispy. Remove and drain well on paper towels. Discard most of the fat, but leave about 1 Tbsp in the pan. Return the bacon to the skillet and add half of an onion, chopped. Saute about 6 minutes then remove the skillet from the heat.
Cook orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well. Return pasta to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Add bacon and onions to the pasta.
Trim the end inch off of 16 stalks of asparagus. Chop each stalk into bite-sized pieces. Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water about 3 minutes, until tender when pierced with a knife, but still firm. Drain well and set aside in a large bowl. Toss with little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to the pasta, bacon, and onion. Toss well. Freshly grate 1/4 cup of parmigiano-reggiano cheese and add it to the pasta. Taste and season if needed with salt and pepper. If your pasta is too oily, add up to 1/4 cup of unseasoned bread crumbs.
Serve with a fresh loaf of crusty bread and a crisp green salad.
Easy weeknight dinners is published every Tuesday.