Absorption Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta, and Lemon Zest

Recipe Reviews

Sometimes a recipe lines up so perfectly with exactly what we're craving that it feels like fate. In this case, it was this recipe from Kate Flaim on Design*Sponge and a craving for something both seasonal and comforting on a recent stormy spring evening. Simple yet satisfying, a bowl of this pasta definitely hit the spot!

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We've also been wanting to try this absorption pasta method ever since Dana wrote risotto-style pastas a while back. This recipe takes a slightly different, less hands-on approach by adding the pasta all at once and stirring every so often to make sure the broth is being absorbed easily. We found the technique to work just fine, though we covered the pot toward the end of cooking to prevent too much moisture from evaporating.

Because we didn't want to run to the store in the rain, we made a few basic adjustments to the recipe. We already had asparagus - the key ingredient! - but we subbed in smoked bacon for the pancetta (we store individual slices in the freezer), onions for the shallots, and shredded pecorino for the feta cheese. We also added a sprinkling of leftover thyme, rosemary, and oregano for some extra seasoning.

The result was insanely good. Even before we folded in the cheese, the dish was already creamy from the starchy broth used to cook the pasta. The asparagus was perfectly cooked - chewy but still a little crisp, just the way we like it. The lemon zest was also the clincher. It added exactly the right bright flavor to contrast the rich pasta.

The whole dish came together in about 30 minutes, making this a perfect weeknight meal. It would also be simple to sub out the main ingredients for whatever vegetables are in season. We look forward to trying it with veggies like green beans, zucchini, and fresh tomatoes.

You can bet this will be going on our weekly meal rotation! Do you ever make quick absorption pasta dishes like this?

Get the Recipe! Absorption Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta, and Lemon Zest from Design*Sponge

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(Images: Emma Christensen)