This spring has come bearing all the rain our drought ridden region has been missing for half a decade. The issues brought with that amount of rain in a matter of weeks make me feel like I’m in Louisiana again, another home, in the swamp and the green and earthy damp smell of rebirth. Boudreaux, get the pirogue. And on the downside, the garden frequently takes on the look of a water feature, plants are being lost to root rot and powder mildew and nothing is growing at the rate it should. Except the weeds. Oh the weeding. Tedious would be understating the situation, but spoiled for some time by container gardening, any weeding had become nearly a foreign concept. But for all the challenges, as always it is worth it for lettuces, greens, peas, early tomatoes, and new potatoes.
And nearly as much as I adore all those early harvest goods, I adore this recipe, a light pasta playing less on the sauce and more on the quality of the pasta and freshness of the early harvest veggies it features. All last spring I could not for the life of me remember where I had put this recipe and although I know the basics of it came from somewhere online, I had no luck in my searching. This year, so hankering for it, I dug through every file of clippings until I found it. Worth it? So much so I’m sharing it here for you to enjoy.
SPRINGTIME PASTA PRIMARVERA
12 ounces campenelli pasta
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup haricots verts, ends trimmed
1/2 cup thin asparagus tips and stalks, sliced in 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup white mushrooms, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
A mix of halved or quartered cherry or plum tomatoes and snipped fresh chives for garnish
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until just tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and quickly sauté the vegetables until just tender. Do not overcook. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the half-and-half and cook to thicken the sauce, 5 minutes. Season to taste with pepper. Toss in the drained pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan. Garnish with diced tomatoes and chives or pea shoots, if available. Serve immediately.
Any pasta you prefer may be used, but keep in mind this is a light sauce intended to feature the pasta itself and the vegetables. Be sure the pasta you use is fresh (homemade is ideal) and intended for a light sauce and of course be sure to use the freshest possible vegetables.