Capellini with Asparagus and Pancetta

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Capellini with Asparagus and Pancetta
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Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes

This fantastic, yet easy, meal combines layers of flavor into one incredible pasta dish. Though it may seem strange at first, egg-topped anything is quite the culinary rage these days for good reason -- the soft yolk melds right into the sauce to create a rich and silky texture. Tender asparagus and salty pancetta round out the dish, making this weeknight meal anything but boring. If the kids seem a bit hesitant to eat their pasta this way, you could always serve the egg on the side, but I think they might find it so interesting that they're willing to give it a go. And as a bonus, the egg hides the veggies underneath!

What you'll need

  • 1 pound angel hair pasta or capellini
  • 12 ounces fresh asparagus, rinsed well and cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • 4 extra-large, free-range eggs
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta or bacon
  • 2 cloves large garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large handful Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shaved Parmesan cheese

How to make it

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted (with 1 tablespoon of salt) water to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to crisp and fat is rendered. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Remove pancetta and garlic from the pan with a slotted spoon. Drain some fat if necessary, reserving about 1 tablespoon of rendered fat in the pan.

  3. Crack eggs into the pan and fry in the fat, sunny side up (do not flip). Remove to a plate when the white is firm throughout, but the yolk is still runny, which should take 2-3 minutes. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Turn off heat under the pan.

  4. When the water boils, add the asparagus and pasta. When the water returns to a boil, begin timing. It should take about 3 minutes, or as long as the package directs. Drain pasta and asparagus, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.

  5. Turn on heat under the non-stick pan to medium-low (it will still have some bacon fat in it). Add the cream and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the drained pasta and asparagus and the reserved cooking liquid and toss well to coat evenly. Add the pancetta/garlic mixture, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Place a good portion on 4 plates, and top with shaved parmesan cheese and reserved fried eggs. Serve immediately.

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