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Cedar-infused cavatelli pasta

Chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther shares a dish that celebrates her Cree heritage. 



  • 1 bag Cavatelli Pasta (approximately 500 grams)
  • 6-8 stalks of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces on the bias (woody ends trimmed and discarded)
  • 1/2 cup fresh spring peas (or use frozen peas)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced very small
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto (or use 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 snip of fresh cedar, around 2x2 inch size leave whole remove any woody stem (substitute 3 tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme).
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives or fresh parsley or fresh basil, for garnish


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add two tablespoons of salt to the water.
  2. Add pasta to water and cook according to package directions until al dente.
  3. Drain and reserve a quarter cup of the pasta water.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat a large skillet to medium.
  5. Add olive oil and onions- sauté for three minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and sauté one more minute.
  6. Add butter and flour and cook for one minute mixing together.
  7. Whisk in cream until smooth. Add cedar and pesto to the cream sauce.
  8. Bring sauce to bubble mixing well, then simmer on medium-low for five to seven minutes.
  9. Add asparagus and peas. Cook three to four more minutes occasionally mixing until vegetables are al dente. Remove cedar and discard.
  10. Add cooked pasta to the cream sauce, reserved pasta water and parmesan cheese. Mix until well incorporated.
  11. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and season with salt and pepper. Add fresh chives or fresh basil or parsley on top for garnish. Serve and enjoy!