It's finally May, and spring is settling in, which makes me so very happy! After the long, long winter, the warm weather and longer days literally draws us outdoors; walking, gardening, mowing the now green grass. And for many, it means running children to sporting events. (How well I remember those days.) All of that activity really works up an appetite. But quick is best during this time of year (so we can all play outdoors as long as possible)! So this week I'm sharing a recipe that celebrates all of the delectable springtime ingredients that are on hand, and makes preparing a dinner that is easy and completely satisfying lightening fast! This recipe is great on its own with a simple side salad and a piece of crusty bread, or add a piece of grilled chicken or fish on the side for the truly big appetite. (If you don't enjoy asparagus you could use spring peas, instead. Later in the year, use your imagination and switch out the spinach and asparagus for other seasonal veggies.) So go ahead, stay outside as long as you like-you'll have plenty of time to whip up a great dinner! Blessings!
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less, to taste)
12 ounces spaghetti or linguine, Gluten-free if need be
2 cups 1” asparagus pieces, woody ends removed
4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 ½ ounces grated Parmesan or Asiago Cheese
Bring about 6 quarts of salted water to boil in a large pot. Add pasta, bring to a boil, and set timer for 2 minutes less than the recommended time to cook pasta to al dente.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or pan with sides over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat to low and gently sauté until garlic is softened (do not let garlic brown! If heat is too high, garlic will become bitter.) Remove ¾ cup of water from the pasta pot and add to the garlic mixture. Add lemon zest and juice and bring to a boil, allow to reduce while pasta finishes cooking.
When time is complete for the pasta, add the asparagus pieces and set timer for the additional 2 minutes. (Place a colander or strainer in the sink to drain pasta.) When time is up, add the chopped spinach to the pot, stir through, and then drain in strainer.
Add the pasta and vegetable mixture to the skillet and stir in well. When well-combined, add 2 ounces of the cheese and stir until very well combined.
Serve immediately sprinkled with the remaining cheese and more red pepper flakes, if desired.