Spring in Michigan is always interesting. Last week we had temperatures in the thirties with snow flurries, and this week our temperatures have risen to the eighties. Spring is my favorite season as I love to see my backyard come to life as a blanket of green moves across our backyard forest. I also enjoy such spring vegetables as tiny sweet peas, tender fava beans, and thin asparagus spears.
If we were in Italy this spring, as we usually are, I could add a variety of different artichokes to that list, but unfortunately, they are not available here in Michigan locally. I am however enjoying many different dishes using spring asparagus, such as this elegant yet easy to prepare pasta dish.
This easy sauce comes together in mere minutes and is made thick and creamy with egg yolks, while the creme fraiche adds a subtle tang. Think of the sauce as a savory custard. Creme fraiche (pronounced “krem fresh”) is a version of sour cream with a higher fat content, making it suitable for cooking because it is less prone to curdling when you simmer it.
A double boiler is perfect for making this sauce, but if you do not have one, you can place a metal or ceramic bowl over a pot of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the surface of the water though, just sit on top. Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese and thin, crisp asparagus spears for the best results.
This sauce works very well with both fresh and dried pasta. I used dried linguine for my pasta since I prefer dried pasta to fresh. To serve this pasta, just add some cracked black pepper. There is plenty of cheese in the sauce, so additional cheese is not needed. The asparagus is cooked in the pasta water. Just drop the asparagus in with the pasta during the last three minutes of cooking. If you prefer though, you can blanch the asparagus separately.
- 2 Large Egg Yolks At Room Temperature
- 1 1/2 Cups Creme Fraiche
- 5 Ounces Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Pound Tender Thin Asparagus, Cut Into 1 1/2-inch Diagonal Pieces
- 3/4 Pound Pasta Such As Spaghetti or Linguine
- Cracked Black Pepper
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
- In a double boiler or small pot, bring a couple of inches of water to a boil.
- In the top of the double boiler or in a small metal or ceramic bowl that fits onto the pot, whisk together the creme fraiche, egg yolks, grated cheese and salt.
- Place the pasta into the pasta pot and cook according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, set the top of the double boiler or the bowl on top of the boiling water, turn down the heat to a simmer, and whisk the mixture until thickened, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Keep the sauce warm, whisking from time to time.
- When the pasta has about 3 to 4 minutes left to cook, add the asparagus to the pasta water.
- Finish cooking the pasta, drain and return to the pot along with the asparagus.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta then toss to coat the pasta completely.
- Serve the pasta in individual bowls topped with some freshly cracked black pepper.
Based on a recipe from River Cafe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1132Total Fat: 71gSaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 331mgSodium: 1760mgCarbohydrates: 78gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 47g