When spring comes around I am put in mind of a little rhyme that my Dad taught me when I was little. I thought it was hilarious and would repeat it ad nauseum. I recited it to my little one yesterday and she obviously also has the sophisticated sense of humour I possessed at her age…
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz. I wonder where the birdies is? Some say the bird is on the wing, but that’s absurd! The wing is on the bird 🙂
As you may have gathered from my Kitchen Bites updates on my sidebar we are having our kitchen renovated at the moment. Consequently I am cooking on a camp stove in the laundry (and we’ve dusted off the BBQ now that the weather is warming up). This dish is one of those I have on a torn scrap of paper in my trusty old recipe folder. I found it on the internet many moons ago and don’t have the original reference but with a few adaptions of my own it’s my favourite version of this classic dish.
Pasta Primavera is a great dish to make the most of very young spring vegetables – especially if you are growing your own and are starting with only a hand-full of each to harvest. You can substitute any young green vegetable (baby broad beans and baby green beans come to mind) – I used zucchini, asparagus and sugar snap peas.
While it’s quite simple to make it has an interesting layering of flavours with a base of onion and anchovy for depth, a lovely textural crunch with the lightly cooked greens, and a great freshness with the addition at the end of several uncooked ingredients – peeled and deseeded tomato, capers, lemon juice and parsley. The final grating of pecorino (or parmesan) also adds an extra dimension of salty goodness. Quite a sophisticated dish really. It also made us feel very virtuous as it’s about as close to a healthy salad that a pasta can get.
200g fettucine or other ribbon type pasta
1 & 1/2 Tbl olive oil
4 anchovy fillets
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cups of green spring vegetables, cut in just larger than thumbnail sized pieces on the diagonal (to allow them to cook quickly and evenly)
1/3 cup water
1 tomato, peeled, deseeded and chopped
3 Tbl parsley, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbl salted baby capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
pecorino cheese, finely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pour the oil into a frying pan on medium heat and crush anchovy fillets in the oil. Add garlic and onion, cook until the onion turns translucent.
Stir through the spring vegetables and add water which will help them retain their colour. Let them simmer for about 3 – 4 minutes, but don’t overcook. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. As soon as the pasta is ready drain, reserving a tablespoon or so, then add to the frying pan along with the reserved pasta water.
Mix the pasta and the cooked vegetables then add the fresh ingredients: tomato, capers, parsley and lemon juice. Stir them through the pasta, season to taste and serve immediately with pecorino sprinkled on top.