Monday, June 27, 2011

Pasta Primavera

A few months ago, when spring-like vegetables were beginning to show up at the grocery store, but it was still rather chilly and rainy outside (and in these northern states, spring-like vegetables were still very much in hibernation), I made this pasta for book club. It was a big hit, and I suspect that now that it is mid-June, those of us in northern climates can obtain many of these ingredients locally – maybe even at farmer’s markets.

Gourmet published a “Passover Pasta Primavera” recipe in April 2008 that included a way to make the pasta from matzo meal, and in March 2011, rounded up “7 Fresh Ideas for Spring Pastas” and this one made the cut. I used standard linguine rather than making the matzo meal pasta, but otherwise I followed the recipe quite precisely, and I was pleased with the results.

I recommend cutting all the vegetables, but particularly the asparagus, at an angle. Big diagonal “coins” look nice and cook quickly, and take less effort than painstakingly cutting long skinny vegetables into a million small discs. Apparently in cooking lingo, I’m talking about “Bias Slicing” – and if you’d like an explanation, with photos, you can find that on the Better Homes and Gardens website.

Pasta Primavera
1 lb pasta (linguine or fettucine)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced, leaving tips whole
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup frozen peas
6 scallions, thinly sliced, keeping white and pale green parts separate from greens
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus some for serving
1 tsp grated lemon zest

Cook in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then saute asparagus, zucchini, peas, white and pale green parts of scallions, and 1/2 tsp salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup reserved cooking water to vegetables and cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in pasta and scallion greens until just coated with sauce. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and zest. Stir in more reserved water if desired. Serve with additional parmesan.

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