3/19/10

fettuccine alfredo with asparagus



I had this Pollyanna post all planned for you. Sitting in stop and go traffic trying to fight your way to Stanford Medical Center gives you plenty of time to think of posts. Two and half hours of time to be exact. I wanted to write about this is the time of year when I fall back in love with California. High taxes and our legislators can't get along. Smog, traffic and gangs. Google Stockton and see what comes up. I promise you most of it is not pretty. Matter of fact it's grim more often than not. But right now, when Mother Nature puts on this show, it's easy to forget for awhile.

The sky is clear bright blue, free of smog and if you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of the Sierra's and the snow topped mountains to the east, a hundred miles away. The leaves and grass are electric green, so bright it hurts your eyes to stare at it too long but you need to because in a few months the hills and grass with turn a gold color, dry and burnt from the unrelenting summer valley heat.

The air smells sweet from the almond and cherry blossoms and that will only last a week or so before the wind rains down the blossoms. It's all very romantic.

That there are farm workers on street corners selling strawberries, huge and sweet.

And that there is local asparagus for sale. Thin as a pencil or as thick as you thumb. Take your pick.

Asparagus is huge in Stockton and the whole Delta region, if I have my facts straight, our growing region produces most of the asparagus in North America. We even have a festival celebrating asparagus.

I was going to write about all of this in some M.F.K. Fisher way but yesterday evening we had a plainsclothes policeman come to the door and say in the alleyway behind our house someone had spray painted a swastika on a car and house and in all honesty there went the post. It's hard to write about the good stuff when the ugly, mean, nasty, hateful stuff happens in your own backyard.



I could keep it light and goofy but this is my way of keeping it real. This is what is going on in my neighborhood and I feel hopeless. The only way I can make it right is by not ignoring it. Bake some cookies and deliver them to our neighbors and ask them is there anything I or my family can do.



fettuccine alfredo with asparagus:

*I double this recipe

1 pound of asparagus, washed
1 pound of fettuccine (i didn't have any fettuccine so i substituted penne)
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 cup of heavy cream
4-6 ounces of pancetta, thinly sliced
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
juice of 1/2 lemon

Snap the tough ends of the asparagus and discard them. Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces.

While waiting for the water to boil, in a pan, fry up the pancetta until lightly crispy and set aside, grease and all.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fettuccine until almost done, about eight minutes. Add the asparagus and lemon juice, cook until the asparagus and pasta are done, about 4 mintues longer.

Drain the pasta and asparagus. Toss with butter, cream, nutmeg, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and pancetta (grease and all... unless there is alot of it, then you might want to drain it). Serve with additional Parmesan.



Tasting Notes: This dish is Spring and as a bonus since you should be outside enjoying the lovely weather... this dish takes under a half hour to cook and doesn't leave you with many dishes to wash. All good in my book and right now I will take any good I can.


16 comments:

SaintTigerlily said...

Oh so familiar with this feeling. Thankfully, I think most of that kind of thing is kids who don't really understand the entire import of what they are doing goofing off. That's what I tell myself anyway.

Remember about a year ago, maybe longer, when those kids ran around my neighborhood and spray painted "kill whitey" and "take back east harlem" and that kind of thing? It was sad, and a bit scary, but I have to believe the people who aren't running around with spray cans, who are thinking those things and not painting them, are much more sinister.

Doestn't change the fact that it is hurtful and uncool, and you are handling it just right, by spreading love.

SaintTigerlily said...

Oh so familiar with this feeling. Thankfully, I think most of that kind of thing is kids who don't really understand the entire import of what they are doing goofing off. That's what I tell myself anyway.

Remember about a year ago, maybe longer, when those kids ran around my neighborhood and spray painted "kill whitey" and "take back east harlem" and that kind of thing? It was sad, and a bit scary, but I have to believe the people who aren't running around with spray cans, who are thinking those things and not painting them, are much more sinister.

Doestn't change the fact that it is hurtful and uncool, and you are handling it just right, by spreading love.

Amy said...

Ah California...I have to keep asking myself why I miss it and why we're moving back?

Family. That's right. And warmth. Bingo. And I hear you need our tax dollars.

Asparagus is my absolute favorite green veggie. Cannot go wrong with anything made with asparagus.

Stephanie said...

Hi,

I have been wanting to post a comment for a while now, I work at State Farm with Kim and when we noticed that one of our clients had a blog we were so excited. So I started checking out your site, and you just put my favorite all time food on your blog... anything alfredo with asparagus. YUMMY! Keep it coming, I also live in Stockton, and you just have to take the bad with the good.

Stephanie

Mayberry Magpie said...

Ahhhh, but you see, you DID write about the good stuff, in the most reverent and thoughtful tone.

And maybe the green grass and the blue skies and the sweet strawberries and the succulent asparagus wouldn't feel nearly so blessed without a dose of reality. Life is full of the bittersweet, and you just captured it beautifully.

noble pig said...

It's too bad, where does all the hate come from? Ack. But this dish makes it better, at least in your home...totally yummy.

Anonymous said...

Krysta, such actions are those of ignorant, biased people and are so hateful they disrupt the even tenor of our lives. Maybe they were teenagers and maybe not, but there is no excuse for such behaviour. I saw it in NYC the first 70 years of my life and have seen it here in Raleigh these past 17 years - one can only hope that this type of hate can someday be wiped out.

Todd said...

We are so spoiled to live in San Joaquin county and have these little green spears at our wish. I love to grill them on the bbq w/a little EVOO.

As for the Aspargus Festival: I went to the original in '86 ('85?) and havent been back. Too crowded.

Mila said...

Krysta...love love LOVE your posts! You speak from the heart and you speak the truth...I know that your posts will always be well written, entertaining...and delicious!
You combined two of my fave ingredients in this one: cream and asparagus!
YUM

Opy said...

I love the asparagus here! :) Thank you for posting such a delicious looking recipe! I do love Stockton in the spring~

me again said...

It's good to be pro-active. Is there a neighbourhood-watch group around? If so, is it active or stagnant? And if there isn't a group or the local one is no longer viable, maybe think about starting one. Your local police precinct should have officers who specialize in community relations. Contact them and ask about what groups exist for the neighbours or what their advice would be. Sometimes it's the little things too.....motion detector lights everywhere you can possibly put them around your home and garage; wonderful if the neighbours have such things too.
You could even think about holding a street party where the neighbours actually get to know one-another better....and then you can all bbq and cook and eat :-)

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

"You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!"

However, teach food.

Liam O'Malley said...

I'm so glad the spring is finally here. Over here on the east coast, it's been one of the longest and roughest winters in quite some time so seeing the flowers peek out and smelling the change in the air is a welcome refresher.

I love asparagus now. It's one of those things that took me about 25 years to realize how awesome it was (I have a lot of those), but now there's no looking back.

Livin Local said...

Mmmmmm, that Stockton asparagus has graced our table several times in the past week. It is such a thrill when it arrives! This is all practice leading up to the amazing fried asparagus at your local festival.

Bren said...

will come back to thoroughly comment, but great ass pictures! LOVE THEM. So sexy.

EAT! said...

dinner tonight. decided.