Asparagus season is quickly coming to an end here in Colorado. I find that asparagus is one vegetable I insist on eating only in season. Other vegetables I often let slide and eat a few here and there. Corn and asparagus are two I refuse to buy off season, though from somewhere, we seem to have them available all year round!
Until last month, I had never tried a truly, local grown asparagus. Let me tell you in one word, wow. In Texas, I shopped from a local farm but they didn’t grow asparagus. I don’t know if asparagus can be grown in Texas! This farm had Southern specialities like all kinds of fresh beans, fried pies and then your usual farm fare.
So, as long as local, Colorado grown asparagus is available, I’ve been rushing to the farm every week piling up on the grassy goodness. I have never tasted asparagus this sweet and perfect. Store bought asparagus is absolutely no comparison.
My most recent visit, I grabbed two bunches of perfectly, green, crisp asparagus spears. I had no idea what was planned for these beauties but I knew they would be the highlight of my dish.
Pasta Primavera is one of my favourite springtime dishes. It’s substantial enough for lunch and dinner, versatile enough to use up what you have in the fridge and light enough to not bog you down in the warmer months.
I loaded up the pasta with the fresh asparagus, a light tomato cream broth and a handful of spinach. Asparagus Pasta Primavera is the perfect dish to highlight the sweet and tender asparagus against the neutral pasta. It is so good. If you can still get some asparagus, make this!
I used whole tomatoes in this dish because I had a bowl of organic tomatoes that urgently needed to be used up. I, usually, like cherry or grape tomatoes in my primavera. I like how they heat up, pop and release just the right amount of juice; mixed with the olive oil, garlic and a drop of cream and a splash of pasta water, it makes a perfect sauce.
Homemade pasta would be the ideal pasta to use here but since my husband left my pasta machine behind in Texas, I used dry pasta. I haven’t bought another machine as yet, because I know when I do, there’ll be no stopping me. I have a weakness for pasta. But, I have lived four years without one, I think it’s time. I have a birthday this week and I am thinking of asking one for my gift 🙂 Better start dropping those hints 😉
I blanched my asparagus in salted water because I wanted the green colour intact, but you are welcome to just sauté them and build your sauce from there. Also, this pasta dish is vegetarian, but I’ve made many primaveras with chicken or sliced sausage; so good. Great thing here is; you don’t need a lot of meat because it is vegetable heavy.
- 1 pound/500g pasta, any shape
- 2 pounds/1kg fresh asparagus
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes or 4 medium tomatoes
- 4 cups fresh, baby spinach leaves
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped herbs of choice, basil, parsley, mint
- ¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup pasta water from boiling the pasta
- Start by boiling some water in a big pot to blanch the asparagus.
- If you want to just sauté the asparagus instead, then skip the blanching step.
- When the water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt, and add the asparagus.
- Simmer for no more than 5-7 minutes.
- Remove from the boiling water onto a bowl of cold water to stop cooking.
- Cool down the asparagus.
- Chop the asparagus in medium bite size pieces.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic.
- Let cook for a minute and then add the cherry tomatoes, or chopped whole tomatoes.
- Let the cherry tomatoes cook and pop and release their juice.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, pulling them off one minutes shy of being done.
- Drain the pasta reserving a cup of pasta water.
- Add the coked pasta to the tomato sauce in the pan.
- Toss around and add a bit of water if needed.
- Add the asparagus, the spinach, herbs and heavy cream, if using.
- Toss until the pasta is cooked and coated with the light sauce.
- Add as much pasta water is needed to loosen the pasta.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss through and serve.
I hope everyone has been enjoying the lovely summery days we’ve been having. I have to say though, it’s getting a little too hot, a little too quickly! Last few days in Denver have been very hot. I don’t do hot. I envy all the Southern Hemi people enjoying autumn.
I’ve been trying to make my rounds and catch up with my blog reading but it’s been slow going. I haven’t forgotten you! I am just moving so slow that it takes me twice as long to do anything which means I have no time left at bedtime to catch up on my reading! Imagine how long it’s taking me at the grocery store! So, I’ll be by to see you all.
This week has been hectic all around with the kids last week at school and all their activities. I have to say that they made me proud. After all the screaming I do during term time, and all the non listening they do, I am surprised they finished the school year like they did. My eldest daughter finished her first year in college with an all A report card, my second daughter finished 11th Grade with a 4.0 GPA and my youngest daughter graduated 8th Grade with Excellence in all classes, I am chuffed (#proudmama). As for Laith, well I’m just happy he got up everyday for school and made it there on time!
Have a great week, y’all!