Musical pairing – Primavera by Carlos Santana
I don’t know about you, but I am welcoming spring with open arms . . . just wish she’d hurry up and get here . . . and then hang around for a while; we’ve had wide swings in temperatures and record precipitation these past couple of months. When I hit the grocery store this time of year, I am unapologetically giddy at the sight of seasonal strawberries, fresh peas, rows of potted herbs and vibrant green and purple asparagus!
One of my favorite dishes is Pasta Primavera – simple, easy and quick, this dish comes together in less than 20 minutes; add a side salad and a slice of garlic toast, pour yourself a glass of wine and head outside for dinner al fresco – this is the kind of dish that just makes me want to dance!
I actually make this up as I go because you can basically use any vegetables you have on hand; some restaurant versions include broccoli and carrots in a cream sauce but the word ‘Primavera’ in Italian means ‘in the style of springtime’ . . . so for moi, spring vegetables and a light white wine sauce is perfection.
Here’s how I made it:
ARUGULA & PARMESAN RAVIOLI PRIMAVERA
- Arugula & Parmesan Ravioli (I used Trader Joe’s 8.8 ounce pkg but feel free to use your favorite pasta)
- ¼ cup chopped shallots
- 1 clove minced garlic
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc works well here)
- ½ cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- ½ cup fresh asparagus, ¼-inch slice, on the diagonal
- 4 roma tomatoes, chopped (equal to approx 1/2 cup)
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- fresh herbs, chopped for garnish (parsley, thyme, basil mix)
- freshly grated parmesan (reggiano is sublime!)
- Cook pasta according to package directions – be sure to salt your water
- While pasta is cooking, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to large skillet on medium heat
- Add shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes; cook for 2-3 minutes
- Add wine, peas, asparagus, tomatoes and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes or until asparagus is tender but not mushy (you should have a light ‘sauce’ left in the pan with the vegetables; don’t panic if there isn’t much liquid as you can always add another splash (or two, but who’s counting) of wine and/or a bit of the pasta water)
- Drain pasta, reserving some of the liquid to use if needed (see 4 above); add pasta to skillet, remove from heat and gently toss together
- Add zest, a squeeze or two of lemon juice and herbs; toss to combine
- Check seasonings and adjust if necessary
- Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil
SMITH BITES NOTE: I season each layer with salt and pepper as I add to the pan so that by the time I’m finished, I usually don’t have to add any additional seasoning. Adding the fresh herbs and zest at the end of the cooking time, brightens the dish and adds a freshness – and adding just a touch of olive oil brings the whole thing together.