Summer Eats

Asparagus Fettucini with Asparagus Lemon Cream Sauce

From Making Artisan Pasta: How to Make a World of Handmade Noodles, Stuffed Pasta, Dumplings, and More by Aliza Green. This recipe is a delight to prepare. The recipes in this book will teach you to make pasta at home, (with the simplest ingredients), that was never easier, more fun, or more delicious. This recipe and book will remove all intimidation from making dough. Fully illustrated step-by-step instructions for rolling, shaping and stuffing dough for everything from ravioli and dozens of other style pastas to Chinese pot stickers, Polish pierogi, Turkish manti and other delectable pastas from beyond its traditional Italian borders. Lots of hints and tips, too.

Yield: Makes 1 1/4 pounds, serves about 6

 Asparagus Dough

1/2 pound thin dark green asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/2 pound unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 pound fine semolina

2 large egg yolks

2 to 3 tablespoons tepid water (as needed)

Bring one cup of salted water to the boil in a small pot and add the asparagus. Bring the water back to the boil over high heat and cook the asparagus until crisp-tender and brightly colored, about 2 minutes. Drain, saving the cooking water if desired for vegetable stock. Shock the asparagus under cold water to set the color, and drain well. Place the asparagus and egg yolks in the work bowl of a food processor and process until the asparagus is in fine bits.

Pour the flour and semolina into a large bowl and shape it into a “volcano.” Make a “crater” in the middle and pour the asparagus-yolk mixture into the crater. Use a large table fork to begin incorporating the flour, starting with the inner rim and working in the flour from the bottom up. Start kneading the dough once the pasta forms large clumps. When all the loose flour has been incorporated and the dough has formed a rough but cohesive mass transfer it to the board to finish kneading. (Add water a little at a time if the dough is dry.)

Dust the board lightly with flour and begin kneading the dough using the palms of your hands and pressing down and away from your body. The dough should release easily from your fingers. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling or shaping as desired. The dough will continue to absorb the flour as it rests.

Divide the dough into four sections, keeping all but one covered. Using your fingers, flatten out a section of dough into a rough “tongue-shape.” Dust the pasta dough lightly with flour, then roll out, starting on the next to the largest opening until the dough is about three times the width of the dough slot. Fold in three lengthwise, dimpling with your fingers so the layers adhere.

Place the dough crosswise in the slot of the pasta sheeter. (The object is to get an even piece of dough almost as wide as the rollers.) Starting at the largest opening, begin feeding the folded dough through the sheeter while cranking smoothly, sprinkling on both sides with extra flour as needed. Close the opening one number for each round until the pasta is of desired thickness.

Cut the sheet into 2 or 3 shorter lengths about 1 foot long and place onto a mesh pasta rack, a hanging pasta rack, or a clean cotton cloth. Allow the sheets to dry until their surface is dry, about 15 minutes. To cut, attach the fettucini cutter to the front of the pasta machine by inserting the sides into the lengthwise slots on the side.

Dust the sheet lightly with flour and feed it through the cutter, supporting the sheet over your hand to feed the sheet straight through the machine without twisting. Allow the cut strips to air-dry until their surface is no longer moist. Take a half-handful of pastai strips and roll them up together to make individual nests, twisting once. Place the nests on a mesh pasta drying rack. Either cook right away, dust with more semolina, cover and refrigerate or freeze, or allow the nests to dry completely before cooking.

 Asparagus-Lemon Cream Sauce

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1/2 pound thin dark green asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, sauté the shallots in butter until slightly softened. Add the asparagus and lemon zest. Cook together 2 minutes or until the asparagus is crisp-tender, then add cream. Bring to the boil, then add the lemon juice, stir to combine and remove from heat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in the grated cheese. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large wide pot of salted water to the boil. Add the fettuccine and boil about 2 minutes or until “al dente.” Drain well and add to the skillet with the sauce. Toss lightly to combine and serve immediately, preferably on heated plates.

Sweet Potato Home Fries

Craving a bag of chips? Quick, make some home fries! Certainly these are a better choice of starch because of all the vitamins, minerals and fiber in sweet potatoes — almost a “guilt-free-binge.” From The Passionate Vegetable: Health Inspired Recipes to Revitalize Your Life for Vegetarians or Meat Lovers! by Suzanne Landry, this book celebrates vegetables in all their starring roles, breakfasts, salads, sides and entrees. Full of delicious recipes that fit any type of eating style.

2 cups yams or sweet potatoes, peeled

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/3 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 450˚ F. Grease a cookie sheet with oil or use parchment paper.

Slice potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch long slabs; cut each slab into large matchsticks. You will get about 2-dozen pieces from 2 potatoes. Place in a large bowl. Drizzle oil over potatoes and toss potatoes until oil coats all sides. Combine spices, herbs, and salt in a small dish. Sprinkle on the potatoes and toss until the herbs are evenly distributed.

Place a single layer of potatoes on a cookie sheet and place on the middle rack of the oven for five minutes. Remove cookie sheet, and with a pair of tongs, flip the matchsticks onto opposite side. Place in oven for another five minutes. Potatoes should be a little browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Serves 2 to 3.

Raspberry Peach Bars

Any combination of fresh summer fruit would be wonderful with these; favorite combinations are blackberry/peach, apricot/cherry and raspberry/rhubarb. From Heather Christo’s Generous Table, Easy and Elegant Recipes Through the Seasons.