Penne with Spring Vegetables
Combining a medley of spring vegetables, this garden-fresh pasta dish is enriched with a bit of heavy cream.
- 2 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
- 3/4 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 bunches green onions, white and light green portions, thinly sliced
- 6 oz. baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 lb. frozen petite peas
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup minced fresh basil
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. penne or other medium-size pasta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Blanch the asparagus
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the asparagus and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to a colander to drain; set aside. Return the water to a boil.
Make the sauce
In a large fry pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the green onions and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and peas and sauté until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus, stir in the wine and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the cream and cook until heated through. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper.
Finish the dish
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavors. Serve immediately and pass the cheese at the table. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).