Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Peas and asparagus pair with basil,
mint and feta in delicious pasta

The name of the dish, Pasta with Green Vegetables and Herbs (click for the recipe), is a tad misleading.
   It leaves a person with the impression that the pasta is teeming with all manner of beans, broccoli, celery, green bell peppers, zucchini and cabbage.
   That's not the case (and thankfully so)! The only green veggies here are asparagus and peas, which makes me wonder why the recipe author didn’t call it Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Herbs.
   It’s no matter in the end, I suppose, since the end product of the recipe is absolutely delicious.
   The herbs are basil, mint, and parsley. They’re ground up in a blender with olive oil, which creates a gorgeous green sauce that coats the linguine noodles and nicely complements the asparagus and peas. Feta cheese provides the perfect amount of salty tang.
   Garlic bread is a great accompaniment for the pasta, which is easy enough to make on a weeknight but would also be nice to serve at a casual dinner party.
   Cut asparagus is cooked in a pot of boiling water until just tender, about four to six minutes. The pieces of asparagus are transferred to a bowl with a slotted spoon, then frozen peas are added to the boiling water and cooked. After the peas are removed from the boiling water with the slotted spoon, linguine (we used Catelli Smart) is added to the water and cooked.
   Basil, mint, olive oil, salt, pepper and half of the feta are pulsed together in a food processor until chopped and smooth, and the mixture is added to the vegetables.
   A half-cup of the pasta cooking water is reserved, then the linguine is drained. The reserved cooking water is stirred into the vegetables, then the pasta, parsley, thinly-sliced scallions (green or spring onions) and feta are added and the whole thing is tossed together.

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