Just like last spring, I nearly fell off the curb when I saw them poking their pointy little heads out of the yet to be toiled soil.
Given they had the fortitude to break through the thatch of leftover fall leaves with such superhero force was a sure sign these slender lovelies were destined for greatness. Greatness like in a great pasta.
Asparagus. In MY garden.
I discovered these perennial pretties the first spring we lived in our new home—a complete surprise. I learned later that asparagus are perennials which meant while I had been digging about my beds adding soil for my nine hundred and forty seven plus twenty two tomato plants, I had actually been unearthing their little crowns and tossing any chance of future heirs to join our pasta party.
So when those little shoots burst through to give a welcome shout out to the sun and stretch their shoots, its always a giddy delight. And a surprise that they’d dare come back to fight for room among the ever impeding mint. But mint is so darn pretty. And yummy. Especially in this with a bunch of basil fresh from the garden. But not my garden yet, not ’til Mother’s Day when the frost alerts ring free and clear.
My asparagus yield is far less than even a pound, but the couple I harvested I added to this pasta. The rest are from the trusty grocer complete with sturdy purple bands. Which by the way are of my favorite kitchen accessories next to my kitchen shears that I use to cut everything from sausage to herbs.
With spring finally here I figured why not go full throttle and dial up the greens. WAY up. Tone on tone, hue on hue. Its just pretty. And green. And springy. And healthy.
Spring will quickly move into summer and summer will bring Hawaiian Tropic coconut flavored suntan lotion, evening cocktails on the deck annndd, BOOM! The next issue of Foodie Crush. I’ll be announcing submission information next week, along with another announcement you won’t want to miss because you just might win. Oh wait, was I supposed to say that?
Also stay tuned for another grilled cheese recipe. Healthy pasta salad + gooey grilled cheese = happy balance.
Spring Greens Asparagus and Ricotta Pasta
1 pound spinach farfalle or penne pasta
1/2 pound asparagus spears, blanched and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup peas, blanched or thawed
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, blanched and drained of all water
1 cup ricotta fresca
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
4 tablespoons fruity olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup mint leaves, shredded
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to warm pan. Add asparagus, peas, spinach and mint.
2. In a small bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest until well blended. Add to pasta and vegetables and combine. Garnish with ricotta fresca, parmesan and almonds and top with kosher salt and cracked pepper.