Sunday, May 2, 2010

spring vegetable pasta

Asparagus pasta is what my mom and I landed on last weekend when we were deciding what to eat. With peas. And parmesan. It turns out that the folks at Bon Appetit were on the same wavelength: the cover of the May issue depicts a green veggie-packed pasta, with parmesan cleverly sprinkled from above. The Bon Appetit version is a bit richer, with cream and pancetta over linguini. Ours omits the heaviness but takes inspiration from the inclusion of lemon, which worked well to brighten the flavor of the asparagus and peas.

One word of warning - be careful not to overcook the vegetables. It's a remarkably short time period between the bright, beautiful crisp-tender green desired and the floppy, yellow signs of overcooking. Our initial plates were perfect, but by the time we went back for seconds (yes, it was that good!) the covered pasta had continued to cook the veggies slightly past their prime - still yummy, but better to err on the side of slightly underdone vs. over.

Here's what we did:

Spring Vegetable Pasta
Serves 3-4

8 oz. pasta (we used farfalle)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 c. frozen peas, cooked for half the time indicated
3 green onions, sliced with white and pale green parts separated from dark green
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. lemon peel, finely grated
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
a handful of fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, finely grated

Cook the pasta as directed. Drain and set aside.

Add olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add asparagus and saute for 3 minutes. Add peas, white and light green parts of green onions, and garlic. Saute until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add pasta, lemon peel and juice, basil, and half of the parmesan to the vegetable mixture, stirring to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve sprinkled with remaining parmesan.

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