asparagus

This year, I had a “Spring fling” with asparagus ;)

As Spring started to bloom in the grocery stores, I couldn’t keep my hands off those beautiful green-purple, neatly stacked bunches of asparagus.  As an asparagus lover, I think, it’s flavor peaks during the months of April and May. This year, I kicked off the “asparagus season” in my kitchen with Easter breakfast, when I used it as soldiers to dip in the soft-boiled eggs. From then on, I have been using it in my cooking here and there;  trying to make the most of it while the season lasts!

 Nothing says Spring quite like asparagus. With its lush green color and delicate grassy taste, asparagus is the essence of my Spring concoctions!

 

Spring Minestrone

(Spring Vegetable Soup)

A simple vegetarian soup that makes the most of Spring veggies – a delightful green Spring Minestrone! This light but hearty soup is a great combination of textures and flavors with pasta, asparagus, green beans and peas in a delicate broth. What really gives this soup a nice flavor, is some basil pesto. It’s usually drizzled on top as a garnish but I like to add it while sautéing the vegetables for the soup, just the way I use hirva masala for my fish curry. This way, I think, the pesto flavor is completely assimilated by the soup, in the vegetables and the broth.

Served hot or at room temperature, every spoon of this soup is a sip of Spring!

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Serves 2 meals or 4 first courses

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

a bunch (3-4 stems) spring onions or scallions, sliced

10-12 asparagus stems, diagonally chopped into 1-inch pieces

½ cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed

6-8 green beans, diagonally chopped into 1-inch pieces

 ¼ cup Basil Pesto

4 cups (32 oz./945 ml/1qt box) vegetable stock or low-sodium chicken stock

½ cup (a handful) short shape pasta (like mini shells, elbow, ditalini, fiori). *Cut the carbs – use ½ (15 oz/425g) can cannellini, garbanzo or butter beans

salt

fresh ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated, for garnishing

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium – high and sauté  garlic and spring onions  till they become transluscent, for 1-2 mins.  Stir in the pesto along with the asparagus, peas along with the green beans and cook for about 4-5  mins. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a gentle boil. Add the pasta or beans (if using), reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 8-10 mins so that the pasta cooks and the flavours can come together. You don’t want to let it boil hard.

Ladle in a bowl and serve  with some Parmesan shavings and freshly ground black pepper.

Pasta with Asparagus & Peas in Lemon Cream Sauce

Here’s a delicious pasta dish that’s ready in minutes! It uses few ingredients that compliment each other, giving you a wonderfully balanced combination of flavors. A rather usual, cream sauce gets a facelift when combined with lemon juice and is a perfect base for whole-wheat pasta, which generally needs a slightly stronger flavoring to match to it’s distinct robust taste.

An excellent combination of warm comforting food and fresh Spring vegetables, this pasta dish is now  my favorite quick-fix lunch or dinner!

pasta with asparagus and peas in lemon cream sauce

Serves 2

2 handfuls (about 2 cups) whole wheat pasta such as penne, rigatoni, fusilli

10-12 asparagus stems, diagonally chopped into 1-inch pieces

½ cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed

1 tsp  olive oil

1-2  garlic clove, minced

1-2 spring onions or scallions, diced

1 lemon, zested and juiced (zest for garnishing)

1 cup  light cream or half ‘n’ half

salt

freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese, grated

flat leaf parsley, chopped, for garnishing

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous quantity of salt to the boiling water and throw in the pasta. Cook until al dente (tender but still firm to the bite), stirring occasionally, about  10 mins. Add asparagus during last minute of cooking time. Place frozen peas in a colander. Drain pasta-asparagus mixture over peas, so that they will thaw from the steam and set aside till ready to add to the sauce, while reserving the water in which it was cooked.

Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet or frying pan over medium – high and sauté  garlic and spring onions  till they become transluscent, for 2-3 mins. Add the juice from the lemon  and continue to sauté for another min. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir constantly until the sauce thickens.

Return the cooked pasta, asparagus and thawed peas to the pan. Stir gently until the pasta and the vegetables are warmed through and get evenly coated witht the sauce.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

pasta with asparagus and peas in lemon cream sauce

Asparagus Prosciutto Wraps

I like the salty-meaty taste of prosciutto and have been wanting to try this recipe by Rachel Ray that I saw it on the television on one of her shows.

It’s a simple and easy way to dress up the asparagus and turn it into a fancy looking appetizer or snack. The saltiness of the prosiutto is just enough and the lemon adds another “spring-time” dimension to the overall flavor.

asparagus and prociutto wraps

 

 Asparagus & Zucchini Crudi

And lastly, another recipe from my favorite Foodnetwork star. This elegant salad looked very good on television and tasted out of the world in reality. The fresh and clean flavors of the dish tasted like Spring in every bite!

asparagus and zucchini crudi

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8 thoughts on “my spring fling with asparagus

  1. My only dilemma is in deciding which of these scrumptious recipes to make first. It’s raining, so it’s soup! I have pesto, fresh grown and homemade in my freezer.

    Not only are the photos show stoppers, but all the recipes sound fantastic.

    Thanks!

  2. Vaasu,
    These dishes look sooo delicious! YUMMYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!

  3. Hello, This is an outstanding blog, and I can agree with what was written here. I will be back to check out the comments soon. Thanks

  4. I’m so glad I randomly found your blog. I too love asparagus and I’m gonna try your soup recipe tonite!

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