First, let me tell you how Monday was supposed to go and, just so you know, it was going to be lovely. I had the day off work and the weather was typical for June in Seattle, which is to say, chilly, grey, and a little misty. The previous morning I had stumbled across a batch of early season Rainier cherries, way more than Jimmy and I could eat. So given the aforementioned weather and the abundance of cherries, it seemed the perfect day to try my hand at jam making.
Looking forward to my quiet day at home, I threw on the new Bon Iver album [which, just so you know, is amazing] and busied myself with not only pitting the cherries, but smashing up the pits to retrieve the almond-like center. Two hours later- jars sterilized, vanilla bean split, cherries pitted, sugared, and boiled- the jam was done. I poured it out, somehow managing to get more of it on my walls, cupboards, ceiling, and self than in the actual jars, and then I tasted it. And, I’m sorry, but this is the bad part: it was horrible. Terribly tart, yet somehow overly sugary, and the texture, well, lets just say it was a stunning approximation to that of a plastic shoe. I wasted two whole pounds of precious cherries on that sorry mess. TWO. It was so sad.
But all’s well that ends well, so I’ve heard, and after getting a good pout out of my system, I washed down my remorse with a big glass of rosé, and pretty much don’t remember having any complaints after that. All this is to say, well, I have no idea. I went off on a tangent about my adventures in jam-making, when what I really should have been discussing was this pasta:
With a delicious balance of salty prosciutto, creamy fettuccine, and loads of fresh produce- it essentially speaks for itself. And, unlike the jam incident, ahem, it was an undeniable hit. It’s heady, hearty, and comfortable- and it’s just what you’ll want to eat at the end of a long summer day.
Creamy Fettuccine with Prosciutto, Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Peas
Slightly adapted from Nancy Verde Barr via Bon Appetit, April 2001
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½-inch lengths
¼ cup unsalted butter
4 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed if frozen
1 cup cream
1 pound fettuccine
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
Cook asparagus in a large pot of salted boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer asparagus to a separate bowl and set aside. Reserve water in pot for cooking pasta.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add prosciutto and stir for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus, peas, and cream, and simmer until cream has been reduced by about 1/3, around 2-5 minutes. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, bring reserved water in pot to a boil. Add pasta, cook until desired tenderness, and drain. Add pasta to skillet with sauce, toss to coat over low heat, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Transfer to a large bowl, sprinkle with chives, and serve.