Tag Archives: asparagus

Summer Vegetable Pastas

20 Jun

Pasta with Prosciutto, Snap Peas, Mint and Cream

Taking a break from the plethora of potluck recipes (don’t worry, they will be back- I made amazing grilled ricotta chicken and homemade guacamole for our BBQ this weekend), I thought it would be nice to showcase some summery pasta dishes, using the fresh spring vegetables that are miraculously avaliable everywhere now.  Plus, clearly I can’t go a week without making some kind of pasta concoction, and I figure the addition of mounds of veggies helps me justify eating half a pound of pasta in one sitting.

So many vegetables- Pasta wtih Snap Peas, Asparagus and Goat Cheese

The first recipe is for pasta with prosciutto, snap peas, cream and mint, and I immediately bookmarked it when I saw it on Food 52 a couple of weeks ago.  Not only did I already have prosciutto in the fridge, but I love snap peas, AND it gave me an opportunity to use the first of the mint in our ever-burgeoning herb garden.  It may seem like this has a lot of things going on, but all of the flavors compliment each other nicely, and the snap peas add a crunch which is unexpected in a pasta dish.  I enjoyed that the mint added an extra fresh springy flavor, but if you don’t love mint in savory dishes this would be almost as delicious without it.  Despite having quite a few ingredients, this really just requires some chopping and then throwing everything into a pan, and it came together in pretty much the time it takes to boil and cook  the pasta.

After my discovery of this great combination of flavors I used leftover snap peas and some asparagus I had in the fridge for another summer-inspired pasta dish.  I was out of prosciutto and omitted the cream in this dish, but added goat cheese and fresh basil (also from our herb garden!) for an even simpler version.  Both recipes come together in under half an hour and are great uses of summer vegetables, so go down to your farmers market and get shopping!

Our herb garden! The basil is doing slightly better than the parsley. The mint is separate as apparently it is mean and overtakes everything.

Pasta with Prosciutto, Snap Peas, Mint and Cream
Adapted from Food 52
Serves 4

Equipment: Saucepan, frying pan, wooden spoon or spatula, knife

Ingredients:
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound prosciutto shank, finely diced (regular thin prosciutto works too)
4 shallots or 1/2 onion, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 pound fresh snap peas, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
3/4 pounds small pasta such as farfalle, penne, or orechiette
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by chopping your vegetables. Put a pan of salted water on to boil.  Add pasta whenever it is boiling, but start to get your sauce ready in the meantime.  Do this by heating the olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan- when it is warm add the garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant but not burnt.  Add prosciutto and cook an additional 3-4 minutes (if using thin prosciutto cook only 1-2 minutes).  Add the shallots or onions and cook until they are beginning to soften, 3-4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

With about 3 or 4 minutes left until the pasta is ready, add the peas to the frying pan.  After 2-3 minutes add the cream and quickly bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Add the cheese, stir in, and reduce heat to low.  Drain the pasta when it is ready, and toss everything together in a big bowl. Add the chopped mint, garnish with more Parmesan cheese, and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta with Snap Peas, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese
Serves 2

Equipment: Saucepan, frying pan, wooden spoon or spatula, knife

Ingredients:
6 oz fresh snap peas (really however much you want- I used half of a 12 oz bag), chopped
1/2 bunch fresh asparagus, tough ends discarded and then chopped
1 clove garlic
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/8 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Put salted pasta water on to boil and chop your vegetables.  Add the pasta to the water when it is boiling, and heat up olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  When the oil is warm add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Next add the snap peas and asparagus, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to the vegetables.  Turn down the heat if the vegetables begin to brown while you wait for the pasta to cook.  Drain pasta when it is ready, reserving some of the pasta water.  Immediately toss with the vegetables, goat cheese, basil, and Parmesan.  If the sauce needs thinning add some of the pasta water, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately with more Parmesan to garnish.

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Farmer’s Market Bounty: Simple Asparagus Dishes

16 Apr

Sweet potato fries and asparagus

I got a little over-excited at the farmer’s market last weekend. I’m just so excited that we are finally seeing a couple new vegetables after a very long winter, that I had to buy a ton even though I knew I already had a lot of food in the house. I’ve been most excited about seeing asparagus everywhere (though as soon as the rhubarb comes in I’m sure I’ll be buying that up by the truckload), but I’d gotten bored of steaming it so I decided to do a couple other, equally simple, dishes with it this week.
The first was my justification for buying a pint of fingerling sweet potatoes, purely because they were adorable. I figured they would be perfect for baked sweet potato fries– hardly any cutting to do! And since roasted asparagus is delicious, I plonked some asparagus on to the pan for the last ten minutes of baking. Perhaps not a complete meal, but a delicious one.

Fingerling sweet potatoes from farmer's market versus massive sweet potato from Whole Foods

The next night I realized I still had a ton of asparagus, and my swiss chard was quickly looking very sad indeed. So I sauteed up the vegetables, added some lemon and spaghetti, and made a delicious pasta. Hooray for spring!
Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Asparagus
Equipment:
Baking sheet, sharp knife
Ingredients:
As many sweet potatoes as you want
As much asparagus as you want
About 1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, chili powder, and cinnamon, to taste
Method: Preheat the oven to 450F. Peel the sweet potatoes if you want, but I don’t find it necessary. Cut the sweet potatoes into some sort of fry-shape (with the fingerlings, I just quartered them lengthwise). Toss in olive oil, and sprinkle over any seasonings you want (I used those listed above). Spread out into a single layer on the baking sheet, and put in the oven for about 15 minutes. While baking, break off the tough ends of the asparagus, and toss in bowl you tossed the sweet potatoes in, adding more oil if you want.
After 15 minutes, the sweet potatoes should be fairly tender. Stir them around a bit, and throw the asparagus on top, trying to spread it out evenly again but don’t worry if it doesn’t fit in one layer. Put back in the oven for about 10 minutes, at which point the asparagus should be done, and the sweet potatoes crispy in places. Devour in one sitting.

So many good things in one pan

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Asparagus
Equipment: Pot, frying pan, knife
Ingredients:
One bunch swiss chard (it will shrink a lot)
Half a bunch asparagus (or more)
Spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Juice 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Method: Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. While waiting to boil, roughly chop the swiss chard. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus (if you bend the stalk, it will naturally snap where it is tough). Discard or save for another use (such as in broth). Cut the stalks and heads into roughly one-inch pieces. Peel the cloves of garlic, and smash with the broad side of a knife. When water boils, add enough spaghetti for about two people. While it is cooking, heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Put garlic in oil, and cook until it softens at edges, about a minute. Add asparagus and swiss chard. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until swiss chard is wilted and asparagus is cooked, but with some bite, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat if it is done before spaghetti.
When it is cooked al dente, drain spaghetti and toss into frying pan along with 1 tbsp butter and juice of half a lemon. Return pan to heat, and toss with vegetables until butter is melted. Taste, and add more lemon juice or seasonings if desired. Eat immediately. Serves two.