Spring Vegetable Pasta Risotto Style

6 07 2011

This was an interesting way of cooking pasta which I found in a Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Basically the pasta is cooked in the same fashion as risotto. I found it to be very flavorful and not too heavy. Try it with farfalle, penne, or campanelle.

Serves 4 – 5

3 medium leeks, cut in half lengthwise and washed

1 lb asparagus, tough ends snapped off and reserved, spears cut on bias into 1 inch pieces

2 cups baby peas

6 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

2 tbsp minced fresh basil

2 tbp minced fresh chives

2 tbsp minced fresh mint or cilantro

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 tbsp lemon juice

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 pound pasta, such as penne, farfalle or campanelle

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Roughly chop dark green portions of leeks and put them in a large pot with asparagus ends, 1 cup peas, 2 tsp garlic, vegetable broth and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Continue simmering about 15 minutes. Strain broth into another saucepan and discard solids. Keep broth warm over a low burner.

Combine herbs and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sliced leeks and some salt; cook stirring occasionally until leeks begin to brown. Add asparagus pieces and cook until crisp-tender. Add remaining garlic and pepper flakes and cook another minute. Add peas and cook one minute and remove vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe out Dutch oven. Add remaining oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot add in pasta and saute until pasta begins to brown. Add in wine and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed. Then add in 5 cups of hot broth. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente. about 10 minutes.

Remove pot from heat, stir in lemon juice, Parmesan, herb mixture and vegetables. Season to taste. Serve passing Parmesan cheese separately.







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