Spring Vegetable Pasta

Pasta

Finally I am back in the kitchen after my 2 month hiatus.  Don't worry – we haven't starved.  Andrew's company has fed us well … but now it's back to making dinner again!  And this was a great spring veggie pasta to get me back into cooking.  And very light too – hardly any dairy and no meat.  As far as Cook's Illustrated recipes go, this is on the "simpler" side.  Browning raw pasta was really interesting – made the dish super flavorful and tasty (like a risotto).  I will definitely try it again!

Spring Vegetable Pasta
Cook's Illustrated, March/April 2011

  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts washed and cut into ½ inch slices; dark green leaves chopped
  • 1 lb asparagus, tough ends removed and chopped; remainder sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth  (I didnt have vege broth so used chicken instead)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tb minced chives
  • 2 Tb minced parsley
  • ½ tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tb lemon juice
  • 6 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb Campanelle or other pasta
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 oz grated parmesan cheese (i tripled this amount.  what can i say?  we love cheese!!!)

Prep the broth – place the chopped leek and asparagus scraps, ½ of the garlic, 1 cup of the peas, the broth, and the water into a saucepan.  Turn to high heat; bring to boil, then reduce heat.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain broth through a mesh strainer, pushing on the solids with a spoon to get as much liquid and flavor as possible.  You should have about 5 cups of liquid.  If you have less, add some water to bring the total volume to 5 cups.  Discard the solids from the strainer and return the broth to the saucepan.  Keep on low heat.

Prep the vegetables – heat 2 Tb of the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the sliced leeks and some salt.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the asparagus to the pot and cook for another 4 minutes.  Add the remaining garlic and the pepper flakes and cook for about a minute.  Add the peas and cook for another minute.

Transfer all of the vegetables to a plate and allow to sit – uncovered – while you prepare the pasta.

Wipe out the dutch oven, return to medium heat, and add the remaining oil.  Add the dry pasta and cook for about 5 minutes (until pasta is beginning to brown) stirring constantly.  Add the wine and continue cooking (and stirring) until the wine is absorbed.  Add the warm broth and turn heat to medium high.  Bring the pot to a boil.  Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed and pasta is cooked.  Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, parmesan, cooked vegetables, half of the chives, half of the parsley, and half of the lemon zest.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir to combine. Garnish with the remaining herbs, cheese, and lemon zest – serve immediately.

Thai Iced Tea with Ron and Pleo

My brother Ron, and his wife Pleo, stopped by to say hi before they
moved back to Bangkok!

And, they brought with them delicious Thai Iced Tea – including the
video they produced on how to make the same at home!

Check it out: http://www.cookingthaifood.com/Thai_Iced_Tea

Plus my brother is a photography genius and he showed me how to take a
better “food” picture. 🙂 Hence the nice looking shot of the iced
tea … I’m learning …