I try to eat in season. It’s cheaper to do so, and once the farmer’s market starts, it’s hard not to be drawn in by the delicious looking vegetables. Something that I don’t get to eat often is asparagus. It definitely strikes me as a spring vegetable, and the spring is so short where I live that the season never seems to last long enough to work. But I guess thanks to the mild winter, plants are cropping up earlier, and lasting longer.
Anyway, this means that a couple weeks ago, I acquired some local asparagus, and then later at the farmer’s market, a pound of local broccoli. I used some of the asparagus as a side for our Easter ham, but I still had some, and a lot of celebrations had caused us to eat out a lot. So I needed something that would use up these vegetables before they went off, and what better way than pairing with pasta.
This is really more of an idea than a recipe. My friend Erin and I did a similar dish for one of our weekly dinner nights some time ago, but I’ve kept the idea around since then. I normally don’t improvise when I cook, preparing to follow a recipe, even if it’s a mental one or adding certain things until it tastes right. I’m not confident enough to wing it. But this is little more than a saute, and has lots of room for using things up. I also enjoy the chance to exercise my presentation skills, playing with colors in my food. (Apologies for the fuzzy photo.)
- Pasta of your choice (I used whole wheat penne)
- Asparagus cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces
- Broccoli cut the same
- Diced onion
- Carrot matchsticks
- Red bell pepper
- Olive oil
- Broth of some kind
- Grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta to your taste. Saute the asparagus, broccoli, and onion in the olive oil until they start softening a little. Add some broth and cover. Cook until crisp-tender. Add garlic, bell pepper, and carrots. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs, and cook until fragrant. Serve over pasta, sprinkled with parmesan.
If you use a veggie broth, this dish is a good vegetarian dish, and even with chicken broth, it’s a nice veggie heavy dish, something that I don’t eat as often as I should. Since it’s more idea than recipe, it’s also great for using up things that you may have left in the fridge. I could have added leftover meat, for example, or changed out the veggies. I actually forgot to add any herbs or spices when I made it this last time, so it was a bit plain, but still very filling.