Pasta with Leeks, Asparagus, and Peas

By Ira

This is a very fresh and delicious pasta, perfect for spring.

Serves 4 to 6

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

I made some changes from the original recipe in order to cut down on time and make it more weeknight friendly. The result is still very tasty.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil / butter, separated
  • 3 medium leeks
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 3 garlic cloves, minces
  • 4 cups vegetable broth and 1 cup water (or 3 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water)
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound campanelle, penne, farfalle, or mostaccioli
  • 1 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Note: I used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. I also used vermouth instead of white wine as I like the sweetness and I find it less acidic.

Start by preparing the vegetables. Cut and throw away the dark green parts of the leeks. Halve it lengthwise then slice it thinly. The leeks need to be washed well as they trap dirt.

Cut and discard the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut the rest on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Thaw the frozen peas in the microwave.

In a medium saucepan, add the broth and water and heat it up until boiling. Cover and keep warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil / butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add asparagus and cook for another 4-6 minutes until crisp-tender.

Add garlic and pepper flakes and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the peas and cook for another minute. Transfer all the vegetables to large plate or bowl ad set aside. Wipe out pan.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil / butter to the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes, just like risotto.

Add wine / vermouth and cook stirring for 2 minutes until it’s absorbed.

Add the broth and water, and a pinch of salt. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 8 to 10 minutes and pasta is al dente.

Take away from heat and add lemon juice, zest, parsley, Parmesan, and vegetables. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper.

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