Pasta Primavera with Asparagus, Peas, & Crème Fraîche

This quick and fresh dinner was truly springtime on a plate. It uses a combination of early spring vegetables- asparagus, peas, and scallions- which, as the author describes, makes it a “true celebration of the season.”

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the proportions and omitted the tarragon. I also used reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Loved it!

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed
  • 3/4 pound asparagus, ends snapped
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • cup fresh English peas
  • 1/3 cup (5 large) thinly sliced spring onion, white part only (or use shallot)
  • garlic cloves, finely chopped
  •  coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces pappardelle, fettuccine or tagliatelle, preferably fresh
  • cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, at room temperature
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) crème fraîche or whole milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon, optional
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, slice snap peas in half and asparagus stems into 1/4-inch-thick pieces; leave asparagus tips whole.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add snap peas, asparagus, English peas and onion. Cook until vegetables are barely tender (but not too soft or mushy), 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  5. Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente (1 to 3 minutes for fresh pasta, more for dried pasta). Drain well, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
  6. Transfer pasta to the skillet of prepared vegetables or to a large bowl.
  7. Immediately toss pasta with vegetables, Parmigiano-Reggiano, crème fraîche and herbs.
  8. Thin sauce to desired consistency with reserved pasta water.
  9. Season generously with salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Serve.

One Year Ago:

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Four Years Ago:

Pappardelle with Mashed Peas and Pecorino

When I received the May issue of Martha Stewart Living, I earmarked every pea recipe- they all sounded so delicious!! I picked this buttery, sweet, rich, and easy dish to try first. (We also can’t eat enough pappardelle in my house!) My son declared that it was “addictive.” 🙂 It was absolutely DELICIOUS. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 cups shelled green peas (from 3 pounds in pods), or 3 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 pound pappardelle, tagliatelle, or fettuccine
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  1. Blanch fresh peas in a large pot of salted boiling water until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander with a slotted spoon. (If using frozen peas, skip this step.)
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add peas and lightly mash with the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, return pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain. (I put a measuring cup in my colander so that I don’t forget to reserve the pasta water!)
  4. Add pasta to skillet and cook, tossing to coat with pea mixture. Add butter and 1/2 cup pasta water; toss to evenly coat (adding more water if necessary). Top with cheese, season with pepper, and serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Fresh Fettuccine with Peas, Garlic and Ricotta Salata

IMG_3710

Fresh pasta is highlighted by a delicate sauce. This sauce recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Alice Waters. I don’t think Alice Waters would make this swap… but, I used frozen peas instead of fresh, and fresh pasta instead of dried. I also modified the recipe by doubling the garlic, peas, and marjoram.  Next time, a nice addition would be to add baby spinach with the noodles. I shaved the ricotta salata over the finished dish with a serrated vegetable peeler. Garlicky and good.

Serves: 4

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh (2 pounds unshelled) or frozen baby peas
  • 1 pound fresh fettuccine
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped marjoram
  • 3/4 cup crumbled or shaved ricotta salata or feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and cook over low heat, stirring, until very soft and golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the peas in a strainer until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer the peas to a bowl.
  3. Add the fettuccine to the saucepan and boil until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain the fettuccine, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the saucepan and toss with the garlic oil, peas and reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the marjoram. Top with the cheese and serve at once.

Fresh Whole Wheat-Egg Pasta Dough

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I have been meaning to make fresh pasta ever since I purchased a pasta drying rack a couple of weeks ago. I always forget how easy it is to make it- and how wonderful it is to eat! The dough is silky, tender, and cooks amazingly quickly. Years ago (TWELVE years ago!), I took a “Hands on Pasta” class at The Chopping Block, a recreational cooking school and gourmet retail store in Chicago.  It was the first time I had ever made fresh pasta, FUN and TASTY. 🙂 We made it by hand and with the use of a food processor. Now I use a stand mixer to make the dough because I find that the dough doesn’t get overworked, as it might in a food processor. This recipe is from that class- I just modified it to incorporate whole wheat flour. I have made it in the past with 100 percent whole wheat flour as well, but I have found that the dough is not as pliable. Fresh pasta is great with spring and summer produce. I am looking forward to making a lot of it this summer!

Pasta Dough:  Stand-Mixer Method:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup semolina flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Using the mixer attachment, mix the flours and the salt. Then, while the mixer is running, add the eggs.
  2. When the dough turns into a ball, switch to a dough hook. Break down the ball and reprocess. Keep processing and kneading for 3-4 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky.
  3. Let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature covered with an inverted bowl or plastic wrap. The dough should darken in color and become less sticky.

Rolling the Pasta Dough:

  1. Set the roller on the widest setting.
  2. Folding into thirds before each repetition, and loading the non-folded side into the roller, roll the dough 3-4 times on the first, or widest, setting.
  3. Continue to feed the dough 3-4 times on progressively higher settings until desired thickness is reached. (I roll fettuccine to a thickness of 5.)
  4. Add the cutting attachment OR use sheets to make filled dough.
  5. Place cut noodles on a lightly floured surface, semolina dusted surface, in nests, or on a drying rack. The noodles can be made in advance. Once dry, the noodles can even be frozen.
  6. Cook in salted, boiling water: fresh noodles about 2 to 4 minutes, filled pasta about 3 to 4 minutes.

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