Verdant and fresh, spring vegetables are a welcome sign in the waning days of winter. Spring Vegetable Pasta celebrates their arrival.
Pasta is swirled in a sauce created with creamy leeks, tender asparagus, and English peas. For a rich and velvety addition, garnish with lush burrata cheese.
Like a lot of people, pasta is my go-to meal when I get home from work and don't have the energy to even think about dinner. We call it refrigerator pasta but I have also heard people use the term pantry pasta. Either way, it is scavenging a meal made of bits and leftovers with a little creativity.
But with just a little more effort and planning, Spring Vegetable Pasta could be on your dinner table. It doesn't require a lot of prep work or a long list of ingredients. The correct ingredients - I'm looking at you burrata - will carry this recipe far. Tender vegetables, vividly green, are bathed in a sauce made with creamy leeks and garnished with an assortment of fresh herbs.
- Have a pot of boiling water on the stove, ready for the pasta.
- Thinly slice the leeks, lengthwise.
- Trim the woody stems off the asparagus.
- Cut the asparagus on the bias, creating long pieces.
- Mince the garlic cloves.
Creamy leek sauce
You may think you have too many sliced leeks. Don't worry, they will reduce in size. Sweat in olive oil - cook the leeks gently and slowly. They will almost be stewed. The softer they get, the creamier the sauce. Just make sure the leeks are not browning. If they are starting to show color, turn done the heat. After 8 minutes, throw in the minced garlic and combine with the leeks.
Add white wine for some acidity. Let the wine be absorbed by the leeks. Add a cup of chicken stock, or vegetable if you preparing a vegetarian version of the recipe. At this point, season the sauce with salt and pepper. Start with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Keep tasting as the prep continues and add more seasoning as needed.
- The water for the pasta should be at a rolling boil. Add the noodles along with a fair amount of salt.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the asparagus to the leeks, stirring to combine.
- After 6 minutes, add the peas. Check the seasoning of the sauce now and adjust to your liking.
- While the pasta is cooking, give the herbs a rough chop.
- Keep an eye on the pasta. Cook it 2 minutes less than what is suggested on the box. It will continue cooking once it is added to the sauce.
- Add 6 tablespoons of creme fraiche to the vegetables and the stock, stirring to combine.
- Lastly, add the pasta to the pan to finish cooking in the sauce. If you need more sauce, add up to 1 cup of pasta water.
- Stir the chopped herbs in the pan and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Adjust seasoning if needed
A touch of luxury
The crowning glory is the gooey burrata on top of the noodles. Add some flaky salt and a few grinds of pepper to the cheese. It will ooze into the sauce and the noodles adding creamy richness.
Celebrate the season with Spring Vegetable Pasta. After a hard day at work, spoil yourself!
Another recipe featuring spring vegetables - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/savory-asparagus-and-ricotta-galette
Spring Vegetable Pasta
- Saute pan
- 1 pound asparagus (16 ounces, 454 grams)
- ½ pound English peas (8 ounces, 227 grams)
- 5 leeks (1.6 pounds/634 grams)
- 3 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup olive oil (59 ml)
- ¼ cup white wine (59 ml)
- 1 cup stock, either chicken or vegetable (237 ml)
- 1 pound pasta noodles (454 grams)
- ½ cup loosely packed tender herbs such basil, mint, flat leaf parsley (.3 ounce/9 grams)
- 6 tablespoon creme fraiche
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 8 ounces burrata cheese
- Bring a stockpot of water to a boil.
- Cut off the green bottoms of the leeks. You are only using the white, pale green portion of the leeks. Rinse the leek tops in cool water to remove any dirt or sand. Make sure to check in between the layers.
- Cut the leeks, lengthwise, into thin strips. You may need to rinse the leeks after cutting if you see any dirt.
- Trim the woody part off the bottom of the asparagus spears. Cut each spear on the bias, at an angle. You want to have long pieces.
- Mince the garlic cloves.
- Place the saute pan over medium heat and add ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the leeks. You are slowly sweating the leeks. They should be getting soft but not browning. If they start to brown, turn down the heat.
- After 8 minutes, add the minced garlic.
- When the leeks have cooked for 10-11 minutes and have become soft, add ¼ cup of white wine.
- While the leeks are cooking in the wine, add the pasta to boiling water. Cook 2 minutes less than package instructions. The noodles will finish cooking in the vegetable pasta sauce. Make sure to generously salt the pasta water.
- Add 1 cup of either chicken or vegetable stock to the leeks. Keep the heat at medium.
- When the stock is warm, add the asparagus. It should only cook for a total of 10 minutes. If the pasta is taking longer to cook, adjust the time when you add the asparagus to the stock.
- While the pasta is cooking, give the assorted herbs a rough chop.
- Add 6 tablespoons of creme fraiche to the vegetables and stir into the stock.
- When the pasta is ready, add it and the peas to the pan of leeks and asparagus. Toss to combine. Save 1 cup of pasta water.
- If the pasta isn't saucy enough for you, add some of the reserved pasta water.
- Adjust the seasoning of the pasta with salt and pepper. Add the assorted herbs and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- When serving, add the pasta to a bowl, making sure to spoon the vegetables onto the top.
- Add a chunk of burrata to the top of the pasta. The cheese will combine with everything to add creaminess.