Fettuccine and Asparagus Ribbons with Lemon Creme

Fettuccine and Asparagus Ribbons with Lemon Creme: As soon as the first asparagus spears start poking through the soil I’m thinking how to showcase it. This recipe is full of asparagus flavor as it is used to make the sauce and as ribbons that meld with the pasta.

Fettuccine and Asparagus Ribbons with Lemon Crème with House Made Fettuccini: As soon as the first asparagus spears start poking through the soil I’m thinking how to showcase it. This recipe is full of asparagus flavor as it is used to make the sauce and as ribbons that meld with the pasta.

Fettuccini Dough

1 1/2 cups Italian 00 Flour (You can use all-purpose flour)

½ cup very finely ground semolina flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 whole eggs

1 tablespoon water

In the bowl to the food processor, pulse together the flour, semolina and salt.  Add the eggs and water and process until the dough is starting to stick together.  Stop and inspect the dough. You want it to be the consistency of wet sand. If you pinch the dough it should stick to itself, but not to your fingers. If it is not sticky enough add another tablespoon of water and process again. If it is too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it isn’t sticky.  Remove the dough from the food processor bowl and knead on a very lightly floured board until soft and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.  Let the dough rest wrapped in plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 3 pieces.  With a pasta machine, roll one piece of the pasta out to 1/8″ thick.  Roll the sheet through the fettuccine cutter.  Cut the fettuccine into 10-inch to 12-inch strands and toss on your work surface with flour.  Place a kitchen towel on a baking sheet and dust with flour.  Place the fettuccine on the baking sheet.  Set aside and roll out the remaining 2 pieces of pasta. Makes approximately 1 pound pasta

Fettuccine and Asparagus Ribbons with Lemon Creme

2 pounds fresh asparagus

Salt

2 cups homemade chicken stock (or low salt chicken stock)

2 shallots diced

2 cloves garlic minced

1 cup crème fraiche (you can substitute plain Greek yoghurt)

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup finely grated Parmesan

Pinch of Saffron Threads

1/2 teaspoon Fennel Pollen

1 pound fresh homemade fettuccine

Put chicken stock in a sauce pan and heat to medium high. Break off woody lower portions of asparagus and toss in pan of chicken stock. Add diced shallots and garlic. Cook about 30 minutes.

With the remaining asparagus, take one and place it near the edge of a cutting board. Grasp it by the top and using a vegetable peeler – peel off the bottom ¾ of the stalk. Rotate one half turn and peel again. Continue until the asparagus is too thin to peel. Place the skinny peels in one bowl. Cut off the tip and place it in another bowl. Place the remaining stalk in a third bowl and reserve.

Strain the broth and discard the solids. Toss the asparagus tips in the steaming liquid for two minutes. Remove tips with a slotted spoon and chill in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and reserve.

With the remaining centers of the asparagus, cut them coarsely and place them in a saucepan with the chicken stock.  Place over medium heat and simmer until the asparagus is very tender and pale colored and 1 cup of the chicken stock remains, 25 to 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the crème fraiche (or Greek Yoghurt), lemon zest, lemon juice, fennel and saffron and season with salt.  Reserve.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 2 to 4 minutes.  Drain immediately and place in a large bowl.  Add the shaved asparagus, chicken stock and a handful of the Parmigiano.  Toss together.

Serve immediately garnished with a sprinkling of the Parmigiano, add a dollop of the crème fraiche and place the tips on top of the crème fraiche.  Serve the remaining Parmigiano separately at the table.

Serves about 6 as an Entree. Adapted from Joanne Weir.