After a series of absolutely beautiful spring days, Mother Nature gave us New Yorkers a bitch slap this past Sunday. Luckily I had all that I needed for a rainy day; The Real Housewives of New Jersey season premier and some great ingredients (or ingredientses as Real Housewife Teresa Guidice would say).
I am a total Farmer’s Market addict. I just love strolling to the different booths and seeing all the beautiful, fresh, local harvest. Since it’s only April it’s still a bit of slim pickins’ out there, but the first Spring vegetables are starting to pop up. So, on my last trip to the market I picked up some (more) ramps and asparagus as well as creme fraiche from my favorite local dairy. All I needed was some pasta and organic lemons to make a fantastic meal.
If you’ve never had creme fraiche you must try it. Imagine if Butter and Sour Cream met, fell madly in love and decided to have a baby; that beautiful baby would be Creme Fraiche. It’s like the Shiloh Jolie-Pitt of dairy products.
I also decided to drizzle the pasta with a balsamic reduction which sent this dish right over the top on the deliciousness charts.
For the pasta:
12 oz Penne or other small pasta
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large bunch Asparagus; woody ends removed, chopped in to bite size pieces
1 large bunch Ramps; white part separated from green, white chopped in to chunks, leaves chopped finely
Zest of 2 small organic lemons
Juice of half a lemon
Large pinch Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cups Creme Fraiche
1/2 cup Reserved pasta water
Balsamic drizzle (see recipe below)
Bring large pot of water to boil.
Heat olive in large sauté pan. Add asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes. When asparagus has just barely begun to soften add white part of ramps and cook 5 more minutes. Add ramp leaves and cook until wilted and asparagus and ramp bulbs are fork tender , about 5 more minutes. Stir in lemon zest, juice, red pepper flakes salt and pepper and cook for one more minute.
Meanwhile cook pasta in salted water, one minute less than the package instructs. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss pasta in vegetable mix and cook for another minute or two until pasta is cooked through.
Transfer pasta and vegetables to a large bowl (or just use the pot you cooked the pasta in like I did). Fold in creme fraiche and half of the reserved pasta cooking water. If sauce seems too thick add more of the water, otherwise discard.
Serve pasta with balsamic reduction drizzled over the top.
For Balsamic drizzle:
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 small bay leaf (or a bay leaf torn in half- I probably use 3/4 of a medium leaf)
Mix all ingredients in small sauce pan and bring to a gently boil. Turn down heat to the barest simmer and cook until mixture has reduced by a third and has a thick syrupy consistency. Once mixture has cooled
eat a few spoonfuls straight out of the pot because it’s just so delicious you can’t wait store in airtight container. Balsamic reduction will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.
Did you guys watch the RHNJ season premier? What did you think?I am so Team Manzo and Team Gorga. Can you believe that Teresa told Joe that Melissa would leave him for a richer man!? What an insecure jerk she’s making herself out to be.
Sounds incredible! That’s what happens when you use fresh “ingredientses” 🙂
This looks YUMMY! I think I’ll try it & sub zucchini for the pasta!
I’ve always loved the farmer’s market…and then Kate came along & I had to try to squeeze it in around naptime – and navigate with a stroller! I’ve made a compromise this year: buying a share in a CSA and getting our seasonal, organic produce that way…but the market is so FUN! I’ll still hit it up a few times 🙂
Yum. That looks SO SO good.
I have never been a Housewives person, so I haven’t seen that! I’ve seen a little bit of the NY season, but I think that’s the only one I’ve really watched!