when i worked at baltimore museum of art in the 90s, i became addicted to a particular dish at donna’s at the BMA. it was penne pasta with salmon and peas in a very light and subtle cream sauce. i must have taken it home with me for dinner a dozen times, mainly when i could afford it. this was way before i got really into food and cooking…and it surprised me to have this come back to me so many years later. but…it did.

perhaps having the wonderful fresh shelled peas make their debut at the farmers market last weekend was what did it. all week, i’ve been thinking…how did she make that amazing sauce? it was so light and perfect, barely coating the pasta. so, i finally tried to make it today, however, no salmon in the house, so i just made it with peas and asparagus, with some fresh tagliatelle pasta [cavanna pasta from the JFX farmers market.]and, adding bacon seemed like a good idea, of course. duh.

pasta with peas, asparagus and bacon

ingredients:

1 lb fresh pasta
1 tbsp butter
bacon [chopped to 1/2 ” pieces = about 1/2 cup]6 fresh pearl onions – sliced thinly
1 bunch thin asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups fresh peas
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

for the sauce:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp crème fraîche
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

directions:

sauce:
in a small saucepan, heat broth over medium heat.
simmer for 5 minutes, then add flour to thicken,whisk until incorporated.
[add more flour or some milk depending on how thick you’d like it.]add creme fraiche. stir well.
add salt and pepper.
reduce heat to low and keep warm on stove.

cook pasta as directed in large pot [remember, fresh pasta takes much less time than dried pasta.]drain and return cooked pasta to pot.

add butter and bacon to large skillet, cook on medium high for about 5 minutes.
remove bacon and drain on paper towel.
add onions to the skillet, cook on medium for about 5 minutes.
add asparagus to the skillet, mix with onions, cover and cook on medium for about 8 minutes.
add peas to the skillet, mix, cover and cook for about 3 minutes.

add onions, asparagus and peas to the pot with pasta.
add bacon to the pot, stir well.

transfer to serving dish and add freshly grated parmesan cheese. [i also recommend fresh parsley, but sadly, i was out…]

you could actually do this dish sans sauce and i think it would be delish. i just wanted to see how close i could get to that donna’s sauce…i got pretty close.

also, i enjoyed a glass of pine ridge chenin blanc-viognier with this…thanks to my friend carey at the wine source for turning me on to this fabulous, affordable wine a few years ago!

yum.