Currently, I would guess I have well over a thousand recipes saved, just waiting for me to try them out. It’s a bit overwhelming when there are so many great recipes and so little time. I try to prioritize, plan ahead, and try what’s in season. Things get a little backlogged, and this recipe has been saved since I received the March 2013 issue of Southern Living. The combination of fennel, oranges, asparagus, and beautiful pink lentils was really intriguing to me. End result: I’ve made this salad twice since Easter and can’t get enough. It’s one of those salads that keeps well for lunches the next day, which is a rare occurrence in the world of Salads. Continue reading
I’ve been wanting to make this elegant salmon salad ever since I saw it in Southern Living. I knew it would be perfect for a handful of occasions, such as a Mother’s Day Brunch or a fancy spring luncheon! Continue reading
I remember back in the day when I hated asparagus (there was a point in my young age when I pretty much hated everything except for toast and milk). The day I finally decided to man up and give them another shot was a new beginning. My aunt made the super skinny spears with just a little olive oil and salt and pepper, and everything changed.
I realized this vegetable wasn’t the devil, and not only were they good with just a little EVOO love, there were so many other asparagus recipes out there! I still refuse to buy asparagus if they are really thick…maybe I am an asparagus snob.
This recipe is pretty standard – cook the asparagus in whatever way works for you, then pile on this amazing mustard sauce. The sauce will go well on other things too – pork, chicken, fish, etc….but it is really damn good on asparagus.
Asparagus With Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 1/2 pounds large or medium asparagus
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely cut chives.
1. Snap off and discard the tough bottoms of each asparagus spear. If using large, thick asparagus, peel the lower ends with a vegetable peeler. Medium asparagus will not need peeling.
2. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, place the shallots, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Let shallots soften for 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, then whisk in the olive oil to make a thick dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Heat grill to medium. Brush olive oil on asparagus, and grill until tender, about 6-10 minutes depending on your grill. If you do not have a grill: In a large stainless-steel soup pot bring 4 quarts of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until just done. Remove asparagus with a large strainer and spread out on a baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel. Asparagus may be served warm or at room temperature.
5. To serve, place asparagus on a platter or individual plates. Spoon the vinaigrette over the asparagus. Sprinkle with chives if you wish.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Adapted from the New York Times.
asparagus, blanch, broccoli, butter, cream, dinner, memories, mushrooms, new york times, parmesan, parsley, pasta primavera, peas, pine nuts, red pepper flakes, salt, spaghetti, spring, summer, tomatoes, vegetables, zucchini
My mom (the famous LuLu) had been planning on visiting for a girl’s weekend for about a month. At the very inception of these plans, my aunt said, “Let’s make pasta primavera.” I had heard of it, but couldn’t remember ever having it. The “retro” recipe is long and laborious, but so worth it. Now that I know our personal family history of it, I can’t wait to make it again.
As the days drew closer to my mom’s visit, I started asking more about the dish. She said, “Grammy started making it around the time we were in college. It was something we would eat in the spring or summer.” She then told me I could find the recipe in a New York Times article if I googled it. I didn’t realize Pasta Primavera was such a huge deal back in the day. No surprise though, that Grammy was on the cutting edge of what to cook, long before Food Network, Pinterest, or blogs. It made me smile.
So, mid-afternoon on a Saturday after pedicures, the three of us girls started making the dish. We found parts of the New York Times Recipe to be a bit unclear, but hey, Ina can’t write every recipe out there.
We blanched a lot of vegetables, all separately.
Though delicious and worth every step, this is not a recipe you want to make if you don’t have many pots or pans, or don’t feel like doing a ton of dishes later. Wait, scratch that. Go out and buy more pots and pans, and make someone who loves you do the dishes. Problem solved!
We made a double recipe, so we had a little trouble fitting all the veggies into one pan.
When we finally sat down to eat, I was so happy. Surrounded by some of the people I love the most, with a plate of pasta you can feel good about eating. Pasta Primavera was more than a trendy dish made decades ago, but clearly brought back fond memories of Grammy for my mom and aunt. They said it tasted just like they remembered it. They wondered how she did it all by herself, never complaining or asking for help. It may have took the three of us to make it, but Grammy would have been proud.
- 1 bunch broccoli
- 2 small zucchini, unpeeled
- 4 asparagus spears
- 1 1/2 cups green beans
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen pea pods
- 1 tablespoon peanut, vegetable or corn oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced hot red or green chili, or 1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 cups 1-inch tomato cubes
- 6 basil leaves, chopped
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, approximately
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts.
1. Trim broccoli and break into florets. Trim off ends of the zucchini. Cut into quarters, then cut into 1-inch or slightly longer lengths (about 1 1/2 cups). Cut each asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Trim beans and cut into 1-inch pieces.
2. Cook each of the green vegetables separately in boiling salted water to cover until crisp but tender. Drain well, then run under cold water to chill, and drain again thoroughly. Combine the cooked vegetables in a bowl.
3. Cook the peas and pods; about 1 minute if fresh; 30 seconds if frozen. Drain, chill with cold water and drain again. Combine with the vegetables.
4. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 2 minutes, shaking the skillet and stirring. Add the chili and parsley. Stir, add the mixture to the vegetables.
5. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan and add half the garlic. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook about 4 minutes. Add the basil.
6. In a separate pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and add the remaining garlic and the vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring gently, until heated through.
7. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until almost (but not quite) tender, retaining a slight resilience in the center. Drain well.
8. In a pot large enough to hold the spaghetti and vegetables, add the butter and melt over medium-low heat. Then add the chicken broth and half a cup each of cream and cheese, stirring constantly. Cook gently until smooth. Add the spaghetti and toss quickly to blend. Add half the vegetables and pour in the liquid from the tomatoes, tossing over very low heat.
9. Add the remaining vegetables. If the sauce seems dry, add 3 to 4 tablespoons more cream. Add the pine nuts and give the mixture a final tossing.
10. Serve equal portions of the spaghetti mixture in hot soup or spaghetti bowls. Spoon equal amounts of the tomatoes over each serving. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a main course; 6 to 8 as an appetizer.