Look for these spring vegetables at the markets for the best flavour and good value at this time of the year.
As my family says, this is my vegetarian Carbonara. It is a creamy dish without the calories!
250g good quality spaghetti. I try to use Barilla.
2 bunches of asparagus, about 2 cups when chopped
1 cup of peas
1 cup broad beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced small
2 garlic cloves, diced small
2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup ricotta cheese
1- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until it is al dente. Drain the pasta.
2- Clean the asparagus, using a knife remove the woody part of the stem then with a peeler peel away the out layer and discard. Use kitchen string and tie the asparagus into a bunch. In a large pot of boiling salted water add the asparagus and cook until they are tender. Once cooked put them in ice water for 1 minute, this will keep their beautiful green colour. Remove them and drain them with a sieve. Cut them diagonally into 1 inch lengths. Put aside.
2- If the peas are fresh you need to remove them from the pea pod. Cook them in the same water as the asparagus until they are tender. If the peas are frozen just put them in the same boiling water as the asparagus and cook until tender. Once cooked put them in ice water for 1 minute then drain them with a sieve. Put aside
3- If you have frozen broad beans put them in a medium pot of boiling water, without salt or the skins will turn tough, cook the broad beans until tender. Once cooked remove the skins . If they are fresh just remove them from the pod and keep aside.
4- Once you have all the vegetables ready, mix them together in a bowl.
5- Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over moderately high heat, add the shallots and garlic, cooked until they are translucent. Stir in the chicken or vegetable stock, and white wine. Cook for 5 minutes until the alcohol has disappeared.
6- Add the ricotta and mix well with a whisk, this mixture will be creamy. Then add the cooked vegetables. Mix carefully with a spatula. Cook for a few minutes unitl the mixture is warm.
7- Add the pasta and season generously with salt and pepper.
8- Serve immediately, and I mean immediately !
– If you have young fresh asparagus there is no need to clean them.
– For more flavour sprinkle the pasta with fried bacon or pancetta.