This recipe was part of the Food Fight: Top Chef Challenge which ended Jun 8, 2009 12:00 PM.
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Linguine with Asparagus and Snap Peas Recipe

Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 20 minutes | Active Time: | Makes: 3 servings

This dish was inspired by a beautiful bunch of asparagus (in season at the time of this submission) from NYC’s Union Square green market… and an intrinsic love of pasta.

  • 2 Rashes (strips) of Applewood Smoked Bacon, chopped into 1/4" pieces.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Shallots, Minced (These can be replaced with a medium yellow onion)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced (use less, or more, to taste)
  • 7 Medium Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4" inch pieces
  • Snap Peas, trimmed and cut into 1/2" inch pieces
  • Thin Linguine. Use enough to fit into the circle made by your thumb and index finger. Then add a bit more...especially if you have small hands!
  • Grana Padano Cheese, freshly grated
  • Kosher Salt, freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
  1. Start bringing a pot of water to a boil. Do not add salt yet.
  2. Add the bacon to a cold, large saute pan (I use a non-stick Calphalon One or an All-Clad stainless steel) and begin to heat over a med flame. Slowly cook the bacon until it is crispy.
  3. Turn off heat and remove bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel or on a ripped piece of an old paper shopping bag. Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan, but keep a small amount (a tsp) in the pan.
  1. Turn the pan back on med heat and when the grease is hot add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Sweat the shallots for 3-5 minutes or until soft. If needed, add a tsp or two of water to the shallots to help them get going. This also will help deglase all those tasty bacon bits from the bottom of the pan.

**You can make this dish without bacon or bacon fat, in which case you would heat olive oil in the pan instead of the bacon fat.

  1. After shallots are soft, add garlic and cook with shallots for one minute. Keep the heat low enough so the garlic does not brown.
  2. Move the garlic and shallots to the side of the saute pan. Turn heat back to med-high. At this point I usually add a little water (a tsp or two) to the pile of shallots/onions and garlic which helps to soften them and keep them from browning.
  1. Salt the boiling water generously and add the linguine.
    When pan is hot add the asparagus to the pan and saute over the med-high flame for a couple of minutes. Then add the snap peas and cook for a minute or two longer. Don’t overcook the vegetables.
    Add bacon back to pan. Reduce heat to low.
  2. Before draining the pasta reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
    The pasta should be al dente (5-7 minutes cooking time, depending on thickness)
    Drain the pasta and add to the saute pan, mixing with ingredients.
    Add small amounts of pasta water and/or extra virgin olive oil to create a ‘sauce’.
  3. Grate Grana Padano cheese, to taste, into the saute pan.
    Salt and pepper to taste.

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