Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I've Been Misled

Last summer, Laura and I made a really delicious peach and crème fraiche pie. It was sooo good, but also the crème fraiche that we bought was really expensive, and we didn't even end up USING all of it. I'm pretty sure the rest went bad in my fridge which was really unfortunate. This memory has clearly stayed with me because when Laura suggested that I try out this pasta recipe my immediate response was "no way - do you REMEMBER how much crème fraiche costs in Canada?" I did recall reading somewhere that you can make your own, but this requires planning your meals out in advance which I rarely do during the week, being a cook entirely driven by cravings. (honestly, I have no idea how Adam is going to deal with me one day when I'm pregnant and having actual LEGITIMATE and ridiculous cravings)

Fortunately, there came a night when I was feeling too lazy to cook a long complicated meal and this seemed easy enough. I decided to go to the grocery store on my way home and consider it depending on how much the crème fraiche cost. Low and behold, I came to the realization that apparently Fortinos is unique in their selection of insanely expensive variety because the crème fraiche at Sobeys wasn't any more than a tub of sour cream. Damn you, Galen Weston!

Anyway, I'm glad I tried it because this meal is pretty quick and easy considering how good it is. The crème fraiche provides just the right amount of richness and makes the dish creamy but still somehow light. I would say it resembles a carbonara but won't sit as heavy in your stomach later that evening and it re-heats well too. I added some lemon juice as well since I had a lemon lying around and I have a tendency to put it in everything. It was a nice contrast to the creaminess so I would do it again, but if you don't like lemon so much feel free to leave it out. I assume it will be just as delicious!

Quick Pasta with Peas, Pork and Crème Fraîche
Adapted from Serious Eats

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for salting the pasta water
8 oz pasta*
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup crème fraîche
6 slices bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (optional)
Some basil leaves, roughly torn

*The recipe used oriecchiette which appear to be a fancy way to say large shells...I used some other pasta that I've never heard of called Malfada Corta....looks kind of like the noodles they use for Lasagna Hamburger Helper

1. Bring a large pot of salty water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occassionally to prevent sticking.

2. While the pasta is cooking, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost (but not quite) crispy - you want it slightly undercooked to how you actually like it as you will continue cooking for a few minutes. Add garlic. Cook for a couple minutes until fragrant but not browned, then reduce the heat to medium and add the peas, cooking for a few seconds, then add the crème fraîche, lemon juice and kosher salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until warmed through.

3. Reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and add it while still wet to the skillet. Toss well with the sauce and add the pasta water to create a loose sauce. Turn the heat to high and cook for 2 minutes as the sauce melds with the pasta.

4.Transfer to bowls and top with any sauce left in the skillet. Lay the basil leaves on top. Serve immediately.

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