With a nod to Spring, (which really needs to show up already!) this delicious dish combines the earthy flavors of asparagus and sun dried tomatoes with savory pancetta. Oh and don’t forget the gnocchi (arguably, my favorite pasta); all tossed in a parmesan cracked peppercorn cream sauce… C’mon, Spring… you got this!
Ingredients: Feeds 4
- 4 oz pancetta, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 3 cups light cream, room temp
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- dash red pepper flake
- 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
- 1 bunch asparagus, chopped, blanched*
- 1 lb potato gnocchi, cooked*
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- In a large, low profile dutch oven or any enamel coated cast iron pan, sauté the pancetta in the olive oil over medium heat until crispy and the fat renders. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the butter to the pan and as it melts, add the flour. Use a whisk to incorporate the two ingredients until you have a paste. Reduce heat so it doesn’t burn.
- Slowly add the cream and continue to whisk, combining the ingredients. Increase the heat to medium and whisk often until it’s at a low simmer.
- Add the seasonings including the salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flake. Stir.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and allow sauce to cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.
- Add the pancetta, blanched asparagus and the cooked gnocchi. Stir, remove from heat.
- Sprinkle with additional parmesan and broil 3-5 minutes until slightly browned and bubbly.
- Serve immediately with crusty garlic bread and a green salad!
You need to plan ahead when preparing this dish! My directions primarily cover the making of the sauce. You’ll have to simultaneously boil water and cook your gnocchi as well as blanch your asparagus. Cook gnocchi according to package directions (they typically only take 2-3 minutes). To blanch the asparagus, add the chopped pieces to salted, boiling water and let cook for 3 minutes. Remove, drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.