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Rach's Spring Mac n Cheese with Peas and Asparagus

Rach's Spring Mac n Cheese with Peas and Asparagus


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1/3 pound pancetta, small dice

  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 cup freshly shelled peas

  • 1 bundle asparagus, trimmed of tough ends and very thinly sliced on bias

  • Salt and pepper

  • ½ cup white wine

  • 1 pound casarecce or cavatappi pasta

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese

  • 1 cup fresh ricotta, not drained

  • 1½-2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)

  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (1/3 palmful)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped


Heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add pancetta and render to golden and crisp at edges, 3 minutes. Add garlic and shallots, stir to coat in drippings, then add peas and asparagus and sauté 3-4 minutes to tender crisp. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine, evaporate and remove from heat.

Salt water and cook pasta to 1 minute shy of al dente. Remove a mug full (1 to 1¼ cups) boiling starchy water just before draining pasta.

While pasta cooks, combine cheeses in large mixing bowl and season with salt, pepper, chili flakes and thyme. Add hot cooking water from pasta to combine and add pasta, peas and asparagus. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.