Stir-fried Asparagus with Pancetta

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Asparagus is at the height of its season here in San Diego, and we are enjoying it every week. Sometimes, I roast it with a drizzle of olive oil and  finish it with some grated Parmesan. Other nights, I steam it and serve it with a crumbly mixture of panko, butter and lemon zest. Last night, I stir-fried some asparagus with pancetta, another family favorite.

This quick and easy asparagus stir-fry is a winner of a recipe. In fact, It won the food52 contest for best asparagus recipe back in 2010. Submitted by “kaykay”, this well-deserved win was entitled “Absurdly Addictive Asparagus”. I liked it so much that I have been making it ever since – so, time to share.

I have changed the recipe only slightly, preferring shallots to leeks and omitting any salt. I like to peel my asparagus the way my Italian cooking teacher taught me, and prefer to use a medium-sized wok instead of the large skillet suggested in the original recipe.

TIP: Trader Joe’s sells packages of chopped pancetta that are exactly 4 ounces in weight.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Stir-fried Asparagus with Pancetta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
A quick stir-fry of asparagus with pancetta and shallots.
  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound asparagus, peeled, ends chopped and cut into 2 inch pieces on the bias.
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 2 tablespoons roasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaved parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  1. Using a medium-sized wok, sauté pancetta over medium heat, stirring, until crisp.
  2. Add the butter to the wok, allow it to melt, then add the asparagus and shallots.
  3. Sauté over medium heat until asparagus is crisp tender, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, lemon zest, pine nuts and parsley. Cook for 1 more minute. Season with salt, if desired, and pepper.
  5. Serve immediately.

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27 Responses to Stir-fried Asparagus with Pancetta

  1. Gisele aka LA2LAChef May 2, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    Yum! Does that look good.

    • Liz May 2, 2014 at 9:04 am #

      Thanks, Gisele – I’m hoping to see you at Camp Blogaway, yes?

  2. Jayne May 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Sounds great Liz, asparagus are just coming into season here so perfect timing!

    • Liz May 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      Loved your asparagus soup post, Jayne. That lemongrass tip is brilliant.

  3. Suzanne May 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Oh wow Liz, that is what I want for dinner tonight with a poached egg Absolutely delicious!!

    • Liz May 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      Remember this from food52? I made a couple small changes – too good not to share.

  4. Carol Sacks May 3, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    Looks great, Liz! Hope things are cooling down for you guys.

    • Liz May 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

      It is cooler but still pretty warm – tomorrow should return to seasonal temps.

  5. Gerlinde May 3, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    Pancetta and green asparagus are two of my favorites. I will make this recipe as soon as I return from Germany where the white asparagus is in season. They are starting to sell green asparagus here also.

    • Liz May 4, 2014 at 8:04 am #

      I have never cooked white asparagus – very expensive here in California. I’ll have to try it.

  6. Wendy Read May 5, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Gorgeous photo Liz! Looks delightful too–we love asparagus 🙂 I have not pickled any this year which I really like to do also, just to capture it long after it’s gone….beautiful work my friend.

    • Liz May 5, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      Wendy, I have never picked my own asparagus – sounds fun.

  7. susan @ the wimpy vegetarian May 5, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    What a great way to use the wok. I have one that I rarely use, and I should change that right now. This is one of my favorite recipes on F52, and I’m making it tonight with my wok. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    • Liz May 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

      Remember meeting kaykay at the food52 party in 2010? Such a fun evening!

  8. Oui, Chef May 6, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    Missed this one when it was on Food52, thanks for bringing it to my attention, Liz….looks SO good!

    • Liz May 6, 2014 at 11:24 am #

      Sure, Steve – it’s a good one, I think.

  9. Lisa @ Whisk & Cleaver May 7, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    Liz this looks like a quick & easy way to get asparagus on the table. I tend to roast it, but I’ll have to give this method a try.

    • Liz May 7, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      I usually roast mine as well, Lisa – but the pancetta works well here.

  10. Barbara May 7, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    This is a beautiful dish and i bet the pancetta goes beautifully with the asparagus. Wonderful way to dress up veggies!

  11. Becky April 30, 2015 at 1:23 am #

    Asparagus is a favorite of mine, but not so much with my husband and daughter. However, adding some pancetta might just sell them on the idea! Thank you for the recipe!

    • Liz April 30, 2015 at 7:10 am #

      It’s really a good recipe – and I can say so, since it isn’t mine!

  12. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence April 30, 2015 at 6:27 am #

    I’m always looking for new ways to prepare asparagus this time of the year. Seems like Jorge and I eat asparagus every two or three days now! Loving the flavors here, so I’m going to give this a try.

    • Liz April 30, 2015 at 7:11 am #

      Hope you and Jorge try it – I’ll bet you will add your special tweak to it.

  13. Ani {@afotogirl} April 30, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    I get into an asparagus rut. This will break me out of it. Yummy!

    • Liz May 1, 2015 at 9:08 am #

      So do I, Ani – I tend to roast it simply and Larry and I get tired of it…

  14. Cristin @ Life and Splendor May 16, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    I am loving this recipe! I’ve been feeling like i’ve been in a rut lately with veggies and I think that this is something I should add to the list!

  15. Lynn @ Oh-So Yummy June 2, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

    Sounds yum! Pinned. I can’t wait until the next sale on asparagus! =D

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