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Decadent Spring Pasta

One good way to use up the last of your pancetta (antibiotic-free, organic, humanely-raised) and also celebrate the asparagus bounty that is spring is to improvise on pasta cabonara – in this case sans eggs.

You’ll need: about half a box of linguine fini; 2 strips pancetta, a bunch of thin asparagus (green), a splash of sherry, Parmesan, some heavy cream (optional), pepper, and maybe some red pepper flakes.

Roast asparagus spears, tossed with some olive oil and sea salt, at 400 F for about 15 to 20 minutes; cut pancetta into small bits and fry in cast-iron skillet until the fat is rendered and the pieces are deeply crispy; cut asparagus (now cooled a bit) into small pieces; meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; on a whim, add splash of sherry to pancetta, let reduce; add asparagus to pan, toss; add pasta to pan, toss to coat thoroughly; pile pan contents in bowl (if cooking for one; if more, divide); grate desired amount of Parmesan over pasta; if you want to be truly decadent, add cream (not too much but enough to coat everything); toss pasta to distribute cream and Parmesan evenly throughout; add pepper and maybe red pepper flakes (or add those with the asparagus).

Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour as you enjoy sophisticated spring dinner; consider also having a refreshing mojito or a basil-lime gimlet or similar drink to lighten things up a bit.

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