Maybe it was the "for two" that appealed to me about this recipe. Or maybe it was the great flavours - asparagus, pancetta, parmesan - all wrapped together in one dish. Whatever it was, this asparagus side dish was a real winner. So good, in fact, that it made me long for leftovers.
Sauteed Asparagus with Pancetta and Parmigiano for Two
8 medium-large asparagus spears
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter (first amount)
1/2 ounce/15 grams pancetta, coarsely chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
scant 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp finely grated parmigiano-reggiano
Slice the asparagus on a sharp angle into pieces that are 2 inches long.
In a medium (9-10 inch) nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil and 1/2 Tbsp butter over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add pancetta and cook until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and transfer pancetta with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
Add asparagus to the skillet, season with salt, and return pan to the heat, raising it to medium-high. Cook stirring frequently, until all of the asparagus pieces are nicely browned, up to 10 minutes. They will still be firm, but not crunchy.
Remove pan from the heat and add remaining 1/2 Tbsp butter and the balsamic vinegar (it will sizzle). Stir right away and keep stirring until butter has melted. Transfer asparagus to a serving dish and garnish with Parmigiano and pancetta crisps.