Recipe du Jour: Springtime Pasta Primavera

6982594724_91e5f0cfaa_o 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.)

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • Herbs/spices
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

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.

Notes:

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.

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