I was planning on posting my harvest totals for May today, but I spilled a beer on my laptop a couple of days ago and lost all my data. 😦 The computer is sitting in a bag of rice right now, though, so hopefully it recovers! In the meantime, here’s a recipe I made the other day that is the epitome of spring – it has plenty of bright, green flavors, and uses a lot of veggies and herbs from the spring garden.
This pasta is quick and easy to make, and should come together (including veggie-chopping time, but probably not including harvesting time!) in about the amount of time it takes to boil a pot of water and cook pasta. It’s great served with a crisp, dry white wine – we had it with our homemade, lightly-oaked chardonnay, but a sauvignon blanc or something with light herbal notes would also be great!
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 1 large leek, finely chopped (most leek recipes will tell you to just use the white and light green parts, but go ahead and use the whole thing if you want! I did.)
- about 1.5 cups shelled peas and/or snowpeas cut into one-inch pieces (frozen peas work great if you don’t have fresh!)
- 1 large fennel bulb, stems and fronds removed and reserved for another use (the stems can be frozen to add to soup or fish stock), sliced lengthwise into thin strips
- about 2 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 16 oz pasta (a short, chunky type such as penne, cavatappi, or farfalle is best; I used gemelli)
- salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese for garnish
(photo outtake – the toddler was eager to get at those veggies!)
- Start a large pot of water to boil for the pasta; once it starts boiling, add a generous amount of salt, and cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Add butter and oil to a large, heavy skillet heated to medium heat. Add the leeks and salt/pepper to taste, and saute about 2 minutes or until the leeks just begin to soften.
- Add fennel strips and more salt/pepper to taste; saute until very soft, about 10 minutes. If the pan gets too dry and the fennel begins to brown, add some of the pasta cooking water a couple of tablespoons at a time, to cool the pan and help the veggies to steam.
- Add peas, and saute 2 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet, and turn off the heat.
- Add the veggie mixture and tarragon to cooked, drained pasta; stir to combine. Add more of the reserved pasta water if it looks too dry.
- Taste for seasoning, and add more salt/pepper if necessary.
- Serve, garnishing with fennel fronds and freshly grated parmesan cheese.