On Sundays, we eat pasta. On the couch. Straight from the pot. It’s one of my favorite traditions for so many reasons. First, pasta— I don’t think I need to elaborate there. Second, and almost equally important, the wonderful combination of maximum comfort (I am usually already in jammies) and minimal dishes. Win-win-win.
The pasta itself varies based on cravings, the weather and/or whatever is in the fridge. In winter I’ll make a marinara sauce or a bolognese. In fall, I’ll be basic and add leftover chunks butternut squash and sage. In summer, it’s all about tomatoes and basil. But this latest spring edition was a real winner in my book. It checks the seasonal box with fresh peas, asparagus and radishes. I also happen to think pink and green is an excellent color combination, so it scores extra points for aesthetics. And it’s delicious. The fresh green vegetables lighten up the pasta (and the loads of parmesan I like to add to it and refused to be judged for… #nocaloriesunday) and the radishes add a lovely bitter note. It’s fun, simple and different.
When I make pasta, I usually try to match the shape of the noodle with the other ingredients I am using— long, wide pappardelle and squash ribbons for example. I just think it makes the dish easier to eat and more visually appealing. I opted for rigatoni here and cut my vegetables to a similar size. Gemelli would also be beautiful with asparagus. But of course you can use whatever shape you like. The below recipe is written to use a full pound of pasta, but I usually halve it to serve two hungry people. Strongly suggest enjoying straight from the pot, on the couch this Sunday.
- 1 pound dried pasta of your choice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 8-10 radishes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 10 ounces thin asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 10 ounces fresh peas
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
- freshly cracked black pepper
- zest of half a lemon
- good extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook two minutes shy of the package instructions.
While the pasta cooks (not before!), preheat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the butter is bubbling, add the shallots, garlic cloves and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about two minutes, and then add the radishes. Cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally.
Deglaze the pan with white wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Add the asparagus and peas and cook another two minutes. Remove the garlic cloves and discard. By now, your pasta should be nearly ready. Transfer it to the vegetable mixture, along with a splash of pasta water. Bring everything back to a bubble and cook together for about two minutes, until the liquid has somewhat reduced and the pasta is al dente. The pasta should still be very wet at this point.
Season with fresh pepper and most of the parsley, reserving some for garnish. Add the parmesan cheese and stir, creating a creamy sauce with the remaining liquid. Top with the rest of the parsley, lemon zest and a drizzle of good olive oil. Serve immediately with extra parmesan cheese.