Spring Vegetable Pasta

Wow, what a busy summer this has been so far. I barely eked out two posts in June, and July isn’t off to a much better start. Blogging from the beach isn’t as easy as I thought it would be! So, I recently declared that a pasta night was in order. This is technically a “spring” vegetable pasta, but the ingredients are fresh all throughout the summer as well. The cooking style is unique (the pasta is cooked in a risotto style), but it results in an extra creamy (sans cream) pasta. The resulting dish is exactly what I’ve come to expect from America’s Test Kitchen…delicious!

Spring Vegetable Pasta – from America’s Test Kitchen
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices (about 5 cups); 3 cups roughly chopped dark green parts reserved
1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off, chopped coarsely, and reserved; spears cut on a bias into 1/2 inch-thick pieces
2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon finely grated zest plus 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound dried farfalle pasta
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Ground black pepper

Place dark green leek trimmings, asparagus trimmings, 1 cups peas, minced garlic, vegetable broth, and water in large saucepan. Bring to simmer over high heat, then lower heat to medium-low and gently simmer 10 minutes. While broth simmers, combine mint, chives, and lemon zest in small bowl; set aside.

Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into 8-cup measuring cup, pressing solids to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have 5 cups liquid; add water as needed to measure 5 cups). Discard solids and return broth to saucepan. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add sliced leeks and pinch salt; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until leeks begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus pieces and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add remaining 2 teaspoons garlic and pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining cup peas and continue to cook 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to plate and set aside. Wipe out pot.

Heat remaining 4 tablespoons oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 2 minutes.

When wine is fully absorbed, add hot broth, Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove pot from heat, stir in lemon juice, Parmesan, half of herb mixture, and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, passing Parmesan cheese and remaining herb mixture separately.

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