Archive for Spring

Spring Vegetable Pasta with Ricotta

I couldn’t find firm ricotta in my supermarket, so just tossed in shaved Parmesan.  I’ve made this a couple of times now, and it has a wonderful spring flavor.

375 gr. bowtie pasta
2 c. chopped asparagus or small broccoli florets
½ c. frozen baby peas
100 gr. snow peas, halved diagonally
25 gr. butter
2 yellow squash, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ c. basil leaves
125 gr. fresh firm ricotta, crumbled
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts

Cook the pasta until al dente, adding the asparagus or broccoli, baby peas and snow peas in the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Drain, reserving ⅓ c. of the cooking liquid.  Return the pasta mixture to the pan.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Cook and stir the squash and garlic until golden, about 2 minutes.

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, squash mixture, reserved cooking liquid, and half the ricotta to the pasta mixture; toss gently till combined.  Divide among serving bowls and sprinkle with pine nuts and the remaining ricotta.




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Creamy Spring Vegetable Soup

40 g. butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour or cornmeal
2 c. milk
2 c. chicken stock
2 c. cream
2 c. chopped broccoli florets
3 zucchini, finely chopped
2 c. shelled fresh peas
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped
¼ c. finely grated parmesan cheese
⅓ c. chopped parsley
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour or cornstarch and stir for one minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, stock and cream.  Return to heat and stir until the mixture boils and thickens, around 3 minutes.  Add the vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in the parmesan cheese and parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with croutons.

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Stufato – Garden in a Pot


Extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
3 large fresh sage leaves
1 tightly-packed teaspoon each fresh marjoram and basil leaves, chopped
½ pound green beans, trimmed and halved
3 small pale inner stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
2 pounds zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large yellow sweet pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1 inch dice
6 oil-cured black olives pitted and minced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 14-oz can whole tomatoes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lightly film the bottom of a large saucepan with olive oil.  Set over high heat. Add the onion, herbs, beans, celery, zucchini, pepper, and olives; lower the heat to medium and sauté until the zucchini is golden brown.

Stir in the garlic and tomatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 55 minutes, or until the vegetables are extremely tender.  Stir several times during cooking, crushing the tomatoes as you stir.  Add a little water if necessary to keep the vegetables from scorching.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Asparagus and Portobello Mushrooms

From Italian pure and simple by Clifford A. Wright.  I made this the first time with late season asparagus and it was pretty good, but would be much better in the spring.

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. asparagus, bottoms trimmed and cut into 1½ in. pieces
1 lb. portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1½ c. dry red wine or water, or more as needed
Freshly grated ricotta salata

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the asparagus, mushrooms, and garlic, and cook until the mushrooms turn a little brown, about 3 minutes, stirring often;  season with salt and pepper.  Pour in 1 c. of the wine, turn the heat to high, and cook for 20 minutes, adding lesser and lesser amounts of  wine to keep the pan moist.  When the asparagus are almost cooked, stop adding liquid to the pan, and leave it to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and they are tender.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with grated ricotta salata.

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