We demoed this delightful pasta dish last week on “Recipes from the Chef’s Kitchen,” a cooking show hosted by Lindsey Gustin on Fairfax Public Access television. The ragout takes advantage of early spring vegetables and herbs and burst with flavor. Baby carrots, turnips and even radishes should be available at farmers markets in the next few weeks. Sugar snaps and fresh garden peas will start appearing in supermarkets by late April and at area markets by mid-May. You also can use frozen peas or edamame. If you can’t find baby turnips or carrots, trim down mature versions so they are bite-sized. Organic carrots and turnips tend to have more flavor. We made this for the folks at USBG April 3, 2014 and again at Brookside April 16, 2014. The recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking.
3/4 lb. fresh pasta sheets
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
3 C mixed spring vegetables (such as medium-thick asparagus, baby carrots, baby turnips, spring onions, and sugar snap peas), trimmed as needed into 1- to 3-inch long by ½ – to 3/4-inch-wide pieces
½ C shelled peas or edamame
1/3 C loosely packed pea shoots or watercress sprigs; more for garnish
1/4 C loosely packed chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as basil, chervil, mint, parsley, and/or tarragon; more for garnish
4 T cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1½ t freshly grated lemon zest
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish (optional)
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. With a pizza cutter or chef’s knife, cut the pasta sheets into rustic strips about ½-inch wide. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until barely al dente, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain.
In a 10- to 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan, bring 2½ C water, the garlic, 1 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper to a simmer over high heat. Add the mixed vegetables and simmer briskly, adjusting the heat as necessary, until just crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate. Add to cooking broth peas or edamame, simmer until barely tender, 1-2 minutes, and transfer to the plate with the slotted spoon. Raise the heat to high and boil the liquid until reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta, vegetables, pea shoots or watercress, herbs, butter, and lemon zest to the broth. Toss over medium-high heat until the butter is melted, about 1 minute.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with pea shoots or watercress, fresh herbs, and Parmigiano..