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Capellini with Asparagus and Pancetta

Capellini with Asparagus and Pancetta

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!

by Alison Needham

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.