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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this Spring Vegetable Pasta

By Sharon Little • Mar 6, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Leprechauns are always male. In the 1825 book “Fairy Legends” it was noted that “Leprechauns seem to be entirely male and solitary. They are often described as bearded old men dressed in green and wearing buckled shoes. Sometimes they wear a pointed cap or hat and may smoke a pipe. They are believed to haunt cellars and drink heavily.” Sign me up.

Green is my favorite color. I honestly don’t know if I’m from Irish heritage or not because I don’t think anyone should have their DNA in a questionable data bank voluntarily. I try to behave myself, but stranger things have happened, and I’m trying to keep a low profile. Just in case.

In keeping with this, on St. Patrick’s Day we usually cook at home and let the more adventurous wave their Irish freak flag. This recipe is perfect for springtime because the produce this time of year is so beautiful, and it is also reminds us all of bright days to come.

Spring Vegetable Pasta

Ingredients:

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

1 packed cup fresh mint leaves

1 clove garlic

3 Tablespoons pine nuts

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 lb. fresh asparagus spears (cut into 1-inch pieces)

3/4 cup fresh peas (or frozen)

1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts (chopped and drained)

1 lb. linguine (or your favorite)

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Red pepper flakes

Additional Parmesan

Directions:

Fill a medium pot with water and a generous amount of salt. Bring to a boil and add pasta.

While the pasta cooks, put the basil, mint, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and a bit of salt in a food processor and blend until it becomes a paste. (Jarred pesto is fine.) Transfer to a small bowl and stir in Parmesan.

When the pasta is just al dente, add the asparagus and peas and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes or just until the asparagus is barely tender. Drain, reserving about a half cup of the pasta water, and transfer to a large bowl adding the artichoke hearts and then pesto, salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper to taste. Combine, gently adding pasta water to mixture if needed. Serve with additional Parmesan. 

I added freshly diced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and lightly blanched zucchini to this because Mr. Little doesn’t like peas, and I can’t color inside the lines — even with a green crayon. Cheers!

Sharon Little is a community contributor for the Kingsport Times News.

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