Pasta Primavera

This colorful pasta is incredibly versatile—feel free to add in any of your favorite spring veggies!

Ingredients:
1 pound pasta of your choice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ pound baby carrots, trimmed of greens and sliced into coins
½ pound asparagus, ends snapped and sliced into ¼-inch-thick pieces
¾ cup freshly-shelled peas
¼ cup thinly sliced leeks, white part only
4 cups braising greens
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
⅔ cup grated Grana-style cheese
¼ cup crème fraîche or ricotta cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Salted capers and Piranske Soline Fior di Sale sea salt

Method:
1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, asparagus, peas and leeks. Cook until vegetables are barely tender (but not too soft or mushy), 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in braising greens and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

3. Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain well and transfer pasta to the skillet. Immediately toss pasta with vegetables, grated Grana cheese, crème fraîche or ricotta and herbs. Top each serving with salted capers and a pinch of sea salt, as desired.

Gemelli Pasta with Shelled Peas, Lemon & Mint

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, this light and lovely pasta recipe sings of spring.

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh gemelli pasta
2 cups fresh shelled peas (from about 1 lb. in the pod)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions. Add peas to cook during the last 30 seconds of pasta cooking time. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, set aside. Drain the pasta and the peas together.

2. Dry out the pasta pot, and pour in the heavy cream. Bring the cream to a simmer, and cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the butter, and stir it until it has melted. Generously season the sauce with black pepper, add a pinch of salt as well as the lemon zest. Add ¾ cup Parmesan, and stir it until the sauce is smooth; then toss in the drained pasta & peas.

3. Cook the pasta in the sauce for 2 minutes, until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the reserved pasta water by the spoonful if needed to loosen up the sauce. Garnish with remaining Parmesan, chopped parsley and mint and serve immediately.

Shelled Pea Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

This bright salad is beautifully balanced by fresh mint and Marcona almonds.

Ingredients:
2 cups freshly-shelled peas, blanched until just tender
2 cups mixed greens, such as microgreens and arugula, washed
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
¼ cup toasted Marcona almonds

For vinaigrette:
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients until the oil and vinegar are emulsified. Set aside.

2. On a large serving platter, arrange the greens and the peas, tossing gently to combine. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, toss to coat and then garnish with the fresh mint and Marcona almonds. Season to taste with additional fresh ground pepper, as desired.

Chilled Pea Soup

Cooking the peas briefly retains their vibrant color, while the addition of fresh herbs keeps the finished soup tasting bright.

Ingredients:
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
6 cups shelled fresh peas
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream or water
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Chopped fresh chives (for serving)

Method:
1. Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 6-8 minutes. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Add peas, reduce heat, and simmer gently until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove pot from heat. Add parsley, mint, and remaining 2 cups broth to pot. Purée soup in a blender or with an immersion blender, thinning with water if soup is too thick, until smooth. Season soup with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

3. Whisk crème fraîche and cream in a small bowl to blend. Serve chilled soup topped with chives, passing crème fraîche mixture alongside for spooning over.

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