My sugar snap peas are in the ground and I look forward to the sprouts emerging from the surface of the black soil. As they begin to poke up I get very excited because to me it means my vegetable garden is on its way.
It’s been very wet in my backyard which has delayed things. But we have a long season (much longer than my days gardening in Northern Vermont) and I look forward to carrots, green beans, kale, lettuces and beets. I just used up the last bag of frozen green beans from last year’s garden. I have a few bags of berries left and plan to turn them into a slab pie soon.
But right now I am enjoying the freshness of Spring. PRIMAVERA. It brings a sense of renewal to my body and soul. Vegetables — raw and cooked — add vitality and nourishment to our daily menus. I am cooking a wide assortment of spring pasta and rice dishes using loads of spring veggies. Easy and quick recipes are essential to have in one’s back pocket for weeknight dinners. What is nice about this “formula” is that you can use what you have on hand in the pantry and your refrigerator. Like soups, you can mix things up and end up with a delicious and nutritious bowl of food.
1 pound pasta of your choice
3 minced garlic cloves
1 cup fresh snap peas (or use regular frozen peas) or fresh asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 eggs — beaten with 1 tablespoon milk and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water
1/2 cup bacon or pancetta crumbles (optional)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or pecorino romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (OK to use dry parsley, just use 1 TBS)
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook the pasta to al dente.
Drain the pasta but reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water for the egg mixture.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
Add the garlic and peas/asparagus, cooking over low heat.
Stir in the red pepper.
Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine.
Add the optional bacon crumbles and the egg mixture and toss.
Turn the heat off and toss the cheese, parsley and black pepper with the pasta. Add more reserved pasta water if needed.
Serve garnished with the pine nuts.
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share here experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.