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Primavera means spring, and spring has officially sprung. It’s time to enjoy longer days, warmer temperatures and the beautiful spring produce in our markets.
In our house, we try our best to cook with the season’s crops, so when it comes to spaghetti, we make Bolognese in the winter, chilled pasta with roasted corn and chicken in the summer, and caramelized butternut squash with sage and hazelnuts in the fall.
So Primavera is the hit this spring and much lighter than its winter cousin. We use a fruity olive oil, tomato puree – because fresh tomatoes aren’t quite in season yet – and loads of green veggies.
The boys also like things spicy, unless you tell them it’s spicy. In other words, Marilyn and I season with crushed chili flakes to our taste, and it seems to work for the whole family. Of course garlic, Parmesan and naturally brewed soy sauce round out the flavor. Soy sauce is loaded with umami and makes a world of difference in making everything taste better.
And remember, cooking seasonally is also cooking economically, so buy seasonal, buy local and buy for less!
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1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
12 ounces spaghetti
1/2 cup minced spring onions (these look like scallions but the white part is a bulb like regular onions)
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 jar your favorite tomato sauce, preferably roasted tomato
2 teaspoons naturally brewed soy sauce
1 cup fresh baby spinach
Handful of fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
Handful of fresh dill, coarsely chopped
Grated Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil, as desired
- Fill a large pot with water; add the kosher salt and half of the olive oil. Bring water to a rolling boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil, onions and garlic. Sauté, stirring often, just until the onions and garlic begin to soften and are aromatic. Add the asparagus and stir to coat the asparagus in garlic and onions; sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and soy sauce and heat until just to simmer. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until it wilts.
- Drain the cooked pasta and toss it in a large bowl with the sauce. Divide the pasta among 4 individual plates, pulling the asparagus and spinach to the top. Garnish each bowl with the fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. Finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil around the edge of each bowl, if desired.
Makes 4 servings
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