Every once in a while I try to do an inventory of all the straggler items in the refrigerator and pantry. This time around, I found some All Mixed Up pasta that I had purchased a while ago. I think I may be turning into a pasta hoarder, because I know for certain that there's more pasta up there. It's such an easy purchase to justify. You never know when you need to whip together a quick dinner for house guests...
OK, so we rarely have house guests. And when we do, since my roommate and I live in Hoboken we can either walk a few blocks to indulge in dinner or simply jump on the internet to have it delivered to our door within 30 minutes. I'm working on getting my pasta issue in check. Truly, I am. The first step is to use up the pasta which is in our pantry, willing and able to feed a family of 8.
As I was looking through the Adventures in all Things Food blog which was assigned to me this month by the Secret Recipe Club, I stumbled across a Spring Pea Pasta recipe. Now, I've made some sort of pasta dish for several of my previous SRC posts. I recently swore that I would move away from this approach and make something different. Uh, but Andrea's pasta calls for peas, zucchini, and cheese. You know how much I love those things! Maybe I'll cave for just one more month...
Spring Vegetable Pasta
adapted from Adventures in All Things Food Spring Pea Pasta
makes 4-6 servings
- 1 zucchini, coarsely grated
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/2 lb pasta
- 1 cup frozen peas (you can use fresh peas if desired)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper, to taste
1) Place the grated zucchini in a colander. Gently toss the zucchini with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Let sit for 10 minutes over a bowl or in a sink. After the 10 minutes are up, gently squeeze out any excess water.
2) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the zucchini and tomatoes to the pan. Cook together for 3-4 minutes.
3) Pour the vegetables into a large bowl and add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and chili flakes. (Go easy on the salt until the entire dish is compiled.)
4) Meanwhile, place the pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water.
5) About two minutes before the pasta is at the desired consistency, add the peas.
6) Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Pour the pasta in the bowl with the vegetables.
7) Sprinkle in the cheese and toss everything together, adding the reserved pasta water to achieve the desired consistency. Add extra salt, pepper, lemon juice, and/or chili flakes if desired.
It turns out that this pasta is a great go-to dish for the summer. It's also quite susceptible to slight recipe changes. I added some cherry tomatoes, mostly for color purposes, but they ended up providing a sweet, refreshing flavor to the dish. As usual, I enjoyed the slight snap of the peas and the faint crunch of the zucchini.
Mostly, I was surprised at how much I could taste the butter in here. Don't get me wrong. I don't consider this to be a bad thing. I think it is most definitely a good thing. And in no way does it overwhelm the lightness of the dish. But it is there and if you don't like the taste of butter (who ARE you!?!!?) then you may wish to add only 1/2 tablespoon of it instead of a whole tablespoon...
...but seriously, don't you dare cut back on that butter!