The words “purple is royal” have been uttered more than once in the last few weeks and as the garden fleshes out in emerald and lavender, ultraviolet and splashes of pearl, I wonder if I wasn’t feeling a bit royal when planting. Or perhaps I have more of my mother’s blood than realized (purple is her all time favorite). Or maybe it was a surprise for E (purple is also her favorite). Maybe all of the above.
Either way, the irises are blooming along the fence line, honeysuckle has just begun to perfume the air, and somehow an accidental very purple theme for the first round of blooms has been managed all over the property. It will change as the other flowers come in, pinks, scarlets, and heavenly blues. But for these few weeks, spring has come in royal, all velvet purples and soft lilacs against a deep shimmering green backdrop while indoors the season has come when fresh flowers are always on display straight from the garden.
The vegetable garden is also flush with green as all the first plants are well along. Even spots of purple are mixed throughout the herb section. Thus inspired by those early veggies and all the brightness of the season came this recipe. Coupled with roasted garlic and the faint licorice hint of tarragon, early peas and sugar snaps are the feature of this spring dish. As the cool of April and May storms roll by, this pasta is a hearty comfort food highlighted by the first gifts of the warm season’s garden.
Spring Pasta with Roasted Garlic Sauce
1 cup fresh green peas, shelled and blanched
1 cup sugar snap peas, blanched
Pulps of 6 heads of roasted garlic
12oz fresh pasta
2 slices of pancetta, diced
1 leek, green stalks removed, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whole cream
1 cup parmesan, plus additional for garnish
Salt & fresh cracked pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon, plus fresh sprigs for garnish (see notes)
Prepare the pasta as directed, drain. Meanwhile, to prepare the sauce, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over med-high heat. Add the pancetta, stirring to coat. Cook until the pancetta is lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the leeks and mushrooms, stirring frequently . Sauté until just softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, stock, and roasted garlic pulp and cook until reduced by half, approximately 10 minutes. Add cream, peas, and sugar snaps and heat through. Remove sauce from heat and toss with together with pasta, tarragon and parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh sprigs of tarragon and additional parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.
If tarragon isn’t a favorite, a half tablespoon of freshly chopped mint is a lovely replacement.
This sauce lends itself well to a variety of pasta types but paired with spring veggies, fresh pasta whether homemade or store-bought is best with this recipe.
An excellent how to for roasting garlic can be found here.