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Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Springtime Pasta

Pasta Primavera was (supposedly) invented at a fashionable New York City restaurant in the 1970s. The idea is to combine the freshest early spring vegetables with pasta, in a light, creamy sauce. This recipe is more of a guide than a strict set of instructions; you can vary the vegetables according to what’s in season (the original included mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli and courgettes). You can garnish it with pine nuts. You can add red pepper flakes, or even a spoonful of pesto. Just don’t overcook the vegetables.

Pasta Primavera
Serves 4

Ingredients

¼ pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed
½ pound asparagus, ends snapped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup fresh peas (or use frozen)
¼ cup thinly sliced spring onion, white part only (or use shallots)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
12 ounces fettuccine or tagliatelle, preferably fresh
⅔ cup grated Parmesan, at room temperature
½ cup crème fraîche or whole milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon or basil
2 radishes, thinly sliced

Preparation

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.

While the water is coming to a boil, slice snap peas and asparagus stems into ¼-inch-thick pieces; leave asparagus tips whole.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add snap peas, asparagus, fresh peas and onion. (If you are using frozen peas don’t add them until later). Cook until vegetables are barely tender but not at all soft or mushy, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. If you are using frozen peas, add them now. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente (1 to 3 minutes for fresh pasta, more for dried). Drain, making sure to save a cup of the cooking water, and transfer pasta to a large bowl. Immediately toss pasta with vegetables, cheese, crème fraîche (or yoghurt) and herbs. If it looks a bit dry, add some of the preserved cooking water to thin it out a bit. Season generously with salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with the sliced radishes and serve.

Recipe adapted from Melissa Clark

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