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Penne alla Primavera

May/June 2011

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Penne tossed with spring vegetables, such as carrots, morel mushrooms, asparagus, peas and fava beans, along with loads of fresh herbs is a perfect example of Mario Batali’s rustic approach to great-tasting Italian food. When both fava beans and morel mushrooms are in season, by all means use them in this recipe. But if you can’t find either of those, substitute what looks best. Basic cremini mushrooms will work and frozen lima beans are a good option. Recipe adapted from Molto Gusto by Mario Batali and Mark Ladner (Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, 2010).


Penne alla Primavera Recipe

Makes: 8 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 ounces morels, halved if large, or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces asparagus (8-10 stalks), trimmed and sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick, tips reserved separately
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1 cup fava beans or lima beans, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 4 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon Maldon or other flaky sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound penne pasta, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation

  1. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until barely golden, about 30 seconds. Add carrots, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sliced asparagus stalks and cook for 2 minutes, then add the asparagus tips, peas, beans and scallions. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until all the vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in another large pot. Add kosher salt and pasta; cook until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  3. Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water to the vegetables, stirring and tossing over medium heat to mix well. Cover, reduce heat to low, and allow to steam together for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and a splash or two more of the reserved cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Stir in the parsley, basil and mint. Serve with Parmigiano.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours; serve cold or at room temperature.

Nutrition

Per serving: 410 calories; 13 g fat (3 g sat, 9 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 60 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 17 g protein; 14 g fiber; 324 mg sodium; 536 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (72% daily value), Folate (40% dv), Iron (35% dv), Magnesium (34% dv), Zinc (18% dv), Potassium & Vitamin C (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 3 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 2 fat


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