Spring Vegetable Pasta
- 3 c chopped leek (dark green bits, coarsely chopped and thoroughly washed)
- 3 sliced leeks (just the light green and white bits, halved lengthwise then cut into 1/2" slices)
- 1 lb sliced asparagus bunch (tough bits reserved with dark leek bits)
- 4 c vegetable broth
- 1 c water
- 1 c peas
- 2 t minced garlic
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 t minced garlic
- 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 c peas
- 4 T olive oil
- 1 lb pasta (dry; campanelle suggested)
- 1 c wine (or broth)
- 2 T minced mint (fresh)
- 2 T minced chives (fresh)
- 1/2 t grated lemon zest
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 oz grated parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup, plus more for serving)
- 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Chop the leeks. First get three cups of dark green bits, then discard any further dark green bits you have. Halve each leek lengthwise, then slice into 1/2" half-moons.
Next, the asparagus. Trim the rough bit off all the asparagus, then slice the rough bits into 1/2"-1" slices; place with the dark leek bits.
Wash the dark leek bits and woody asparagus bits thoroughly, immersing them into water. Dry (a salad spinner will work great), but don't worry about getting them perfectly dry.
Pour the vegetable broth and water into a pot, add the dark leek bits and woody asparagus bits, peas, and garlic. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
While that simmers, finish slicing the asparagus (the non-woody bits): slice on the bias (diagonally); set aside. Wash the light green and white leek bits, and the asparagus.
Once the broth has simmered for 10 minutes, strain the solids out of it; discard the solids. If necessary, top up with water to make 5 cups of liquid. Put back in the pot and keep warm over a low heat.
Add 2T olive oil to a large Dutch oven, heat over medium high heat until shimmering, then add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover, let them wilt down and release their liquid; this should take about 5 minutes.
Add the asparagus, and cook until crisp-tender (when it has just a little bit of crunch left in the middle), this time uncovered; this should take another 5 minutes or so.
Add 2t garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant. Be sure to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, don't let them get too burnt. Add peas; warm through, about 1 minute.
Remove vegetables to a bowl; set aside. With paper towels, wipe out any bits from the pan.
Add 4T olive oil to pot, let heat to shimmering. Add dry pasta to pot, stirring so it toasts evenly; cook about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup wine/broth. Cook until most of the wine cooks down to a thick syrup. Add all the broth you've been keeping warm. Let pasta cook for 10 minutes.
While that cooks, mix together the mint, chives, and lemon zest; set aside.
Once the pasta's cooked, add the lemon juice, parmesan cheese, half the herb mixture, the cooked vegetables, and pepper. Mix together, then plate, top with the rest of the herb mixture, and additional parmesan cheese if desired.