I have a couple delicious weeknight pasta recipes to share.
The original recipe for this dish described it as “weeknight fancy”- loved it. The spicy brown-butter coated walnut topping was an essential element to earn this description.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sarah Jampel. I served the flavorful sauce over arugula-parmesan ravioli and incorporated garlic and asparagus. I also modified the method. Any variety of store-bought ravioli would work with this dish.
Yield: Serves 4
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 10 oz package frozen peas (about 2 cups)
1 cup (lightly packed) basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
4 T unsalted butter, divided
16–20 oz fresh or frozen ravioli (I used Trader Joe’s fresh Arugula & Parmesan Ravioli)
4 T (1/4 cup) coarsely chopped raw walnuts or pistachios
1 tsp Aleppo-style pepper
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces, optional
Place the frozen peas in a fine-mesh sieve and place in a large pot of boiling salted water; cook until peas are tender, about 4 minutes.
Lift sieve from water to drain peas and basil and transfer to a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)(Alternatively, you can skip the sieve and use a spider or slotted spoon to fish out the peas and basil.)
Reduce heat to medium-low and keep cooking liquid warm. (You will use it for the sauce, ravioli and the asparagus, if using.)
Add the basil, garlic, grated Parmesan, 2 tablespoons butter (cut into 4 pieces) and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to the blender with the peas.
Blend, gradually increasing speed to high and adding up to 1/4 cup additional cooking liquid as needed, until you have a mostly smooth, fairly loose sauce; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. (I didn’t add any additional liquid.)
Return cooking liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Add ravioli -and asparagus, if using. Cook, stirring gently to unstick, until tender, about 3 minutes or according to package directions. Drain reserving 1/2 cup of pasta liquid. Reserve pot.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
Add the chopped nuts and cook, stirring often, until butter begins to smell toasty and turn brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
Add Aleppo-style pepper, finely grate in lemon zest, and season lightly with salt; mix well.
Slice lemon into wedges.
Return cooked ravioli -and asparagus, if using- to pot, pour pea sauce over, and stir gently to coat. At this point, the consistency can be adjusted with reserved pasta water, if necessary. Using a large spoon, transfer ravioli to plates or a serving dish.
Top with more Parmesan and basil, then spoon brown-butter nuts over the top. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over, as desired.
I loved that this was a veggie-loaded dish. Other members of my family may have complained that they wished it had more meat. 😉 Everyone enjoyed it!
I used asparagus combined with farm stand sugar snap peas and my CSA garlic scapes and bunching broccoli. Any crisp vegetable could be incorporated. We ate it over rice drizzled with Sriracha to add extra heat- perfect.
This Sichuan-inspired stir-fry recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Deb Perelman.
Yield: 4 servings
1 to 2 T peanut or vegetable oil, divided (I used 6 teaspoons)
2+ lbs crispy green vegetables (I used 1 lb asparagus, trimmed, cut on a diagonal into 1″–2″ pieces with 1 lb bunching broccoli, cut into 2″ pieces, and 2 cups sugar snaps)
8 oz ground pork
pinch or dash of red pepper flakes, optional
4 to 6 scallions, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped
2 garlic scapes, finely chopped, optional
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
2 T Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or medium-dry sherry
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
white or brown rice, cooked, for serving
store-bought chili crisp or sriracha, for serving, optional
Heat 1 or 2 teaspoons of peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high to high. (I used a 14-inch stainless steel skillet.)
Once pan is hot (oil will be lightly smoking), add half of the vegetables and a couple pinches of salt and cook, tossing only once or twice so the pieces have a chance to blister, until crisp-tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add another 1 or 2 teaspoons of peanut oil to skillet (no need to wipe it out) and repeat process with remaining vegetables.
Reduce heat to medium-high; add remaining 1 or 2 teaspoons of peanut oil to skillet, then add pork, spreading out into an even layer. Season with a couple pinches of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired. Cook, undisturbed, until meat begins to brown underneath, about 2 minutes.
Break up meat with a wooden spoon and add scallions, garlic scapes (if using), garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until pork is crisp and mixture is very fragrant, about 2 minutes. (I used a mini-food processor to finely chop the scallions, garlic, garlic scapes, and ginger.)
Add wine and soy sauce and return the vegetable to the skillet. Cook, turning to coat with pork mixture, until heated through, about 1 minute.
Transfer stir-fry to a platter or large shallow bowl and drizzle with sesame oil. Serve with rice and hot sauce.
I used to be able to bribe my husband to eat a frittata for dinner by serving it with roasted potatoes… unfortunately, that bribe has worn thin. A frittata topped with burrata was an easy sell! 🙂 This dish could be served for any meal of the day.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. The burrata brought it to the next level. Next time, I would make half of the pesto. We ate it with roasted potatoes and green salad. Nice.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 pound (1small bunch) medium asparagus, tough bottoms removed
½cup extra-virgin olive oil
1cup basil leaves, plus a few small basil leaves for garnish
1cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tablespoons unsalted butter
8large eggs, lightly beaten
¼cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-2balls of fresh burrata, about 1/2 pound total, at room temperature
Rinse asparagus, and pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal, or into julienne strips if preferred. Set aside.
In blender or small food processor, purée olive oil, basil and parsley to make a thin pesto. Season with salt and pepper.
Put a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or other nonstick omelet pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add butter and swirl to coat pan, then add asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring for about a minute without browning.
Quickly pour in eggs and stir with a wooden spoon, as if making scrambled eggs. Tilt pan and lift mixture at the edges to allow any runny egg from the top to make its way to the bottom. After 3 or 4 minutes, the frittata should be mostly set. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Lay a lid over the skillet, and turn off the heat. Leave for a minute or so, until frittata is moist and just done. (Alternatively, place pan under a hot broiler for a minute or so.)
Set whole burrata in the center of frittata. Drizzle with herb pesto. Pierce burrata with tip of a knife and spoon contents over frittata.
Cut frittata into wedges and serve directly from pan, garnished with basil leaves.
I love springtime pasta dishes loaded with vegetables. This version was creamy, rich, and absolutely delicious. Chopping the asparagus so that it could be completely incorporated throughout the pasta was genius.
This recipe was adapted from Ruth Rogers of River Café London: Thirty Years of Recipes and the Story of a Much-Loved Restaurant cookbook, via Food 52. I modified the proportions to use one pound of pasta. I also left the asparagus tips intact. Amazing!
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
14 to 16 ounces taglierini, tagliatelle, or pappardelle pasta
5 to 6 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Trim or snap off the tough ends from the asparagus spears. Cut into 1-inch pieces; reserve tips in a separate bowl.
Finely chop the 1-inch pieces of asparagus all together with 2 of the garlic cloves and the herbs in a food processor. (I chopped the garlic and herbs first and then added the asparagus.)
Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan with the remaining 4 whole garlic cloves and simmer until the cloves are soft. Remove from the heat; discard the garlic.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a separate large pan and sauté half of the chopped asparagus for 5 minutes, stirring. (I used a 14-inch skillet.)
Add the rest of the chopped asparagus-herb mixture and the reserved asparagus tips, followed by the flavored cream. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the cream begins to thicken, about 6 minutes. Season to taste. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
Cook the pasta in a generous amount of boiling salted water, then drain thoroughly.
Add to the sauce along with about half of the Parmesan and toss together.
This dish was the first-runner up for Valentine’s Day dinner. It was a Valentine’s Day bonus that I made it in addition to our celebratory biscuit-topped Chicken Pot Pie. Right? Why choose when you can have both? 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook by Jim Lahey. I increased the amount of vegetables, modified the baking temperature, and incorporated the garlic used to make the garlic oil. We could eat some sort of cheesy, veggie pasta every night of the week. Great!
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the Béchamel:
5 T (70 g) unsalted butter
2 T (20 g) all-purpose flour
3 cups (650 g) whole milk
1/4 tsp (2 g) fine sea salt
1/4 tsp (1 g) freshly grated nutmeg
For the Pasta:
2 T (24 g) coarse salt
1 pound (454 g) penne or rigatoni
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound), large stems removed, cut into 1-inch ribbons
1 bunch thin asparagus (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is a light butterscotch color, about 2 minutes.
Add the milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously to keep lumps from forming.
Continue to whisk and cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens and has the consistency of heavy cream.
Pour the sauce into a bowl to cool.
To Finish the Dish:
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil, add the salt, and cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente.
Drain the pasta well and spread it out over the surface of a rimmed baking sheet.
Heat the oven to 475, preferably on convection.
Steam the chard and asparagus for 4 minutes, or until tender. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add the garlic, and cook for a minute or so, until it begins to sizzle. Lower the heat and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Brush the inside of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with some of the garlic oil.
In the pot that was used to cook the pasta, combine the cooled pasta, the garlic oil (including the garlic, if desired), the béchamel, half of the grated cheese, the steamed asparagus and chard. Stir until well incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta begins to brown on top.
In case you were worried that I wasn’t embracing early spring vegetables… I have another asparagus and pea recipe to share! 😉
I almost exclusively use my pressure cooker just to make risotto. It converts an otherwise time-consuming dish into a lovely weeknight meal. Well, baking risotto performs similar magic. Fabulous!
This recipe was adapted from TheKitchn.com, contributed by Nealey Dozier. This risotto could also be par-baked in advance, the night before, and reheated on the stovetop with one or two cups of additional stock prior to serving. Perfect when entertaining guests.
1 pound pencil-thin asparagus stalks, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, or to taste
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven 400°F, preferably on convection.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon butter and shallots to the pancetta drippings and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the rice and sauté until every grain is coated with butter, about 1 minute.
Increase heat to high. Pour in the wine and simmer until the liquid evaporates. Add stock and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the liquid is almost cooked out and the risotto is creamy, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place over moderate heat. Stir in peas and asparagus and cook until the vegetables are bright green and warmed through, about 5 minutes.
Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, Parmesan, and lemon zest. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with additional Parmesan and reserved pancetta.
To Make in Advance: Bake the risotto for 15 – 20 minutes. Cool and transfer to the refrigerator. When ready to serve, add 1 1/2 cups hot stock and vegetables and cook over medium heat until warm. Stir in the butter, Parmesan, and lemon zest. Season to taste.