“With Italian cooking, the pasta is key,” says Culina chef Victor Casanova. “I try to match the pasta with the sauce and the feel of the dish.” This light, fresh, veggie-packed entrée calls for a delicate pasta. Casanova chose garganelli, which also happens to have ridges that are perfect for grabbing onto the pea puree that serves as the pasta sauce.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound fresh fava beans in pods, shelled (about 3/4 cup beans)
- 8 medium asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 2-inch lengths
- 1 pound garganelli pasta or penne pasta
- 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh English peas or frozen peas, thawed
- 3/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh tarragon leaves
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cut into pieces
- 2 cups (packed) fresh spinach
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Garganelli may look a lot like penne, but the pasta is actually made by folding the opposite corners of small squares of pasta over each other. Look for garganelli at specialty foods stores and Italian markets. If you can’t find garganelli, use penne instead.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Finely grate enough peel from lemon to measure 1 teaspoon; set aside. Cut lemon in half. Squeeze juice from 1 lemon half into bowl of cold water; add lemon half. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim off enough tough outer leaves until only pale green leaves remain. Cut off 3/4 inch from top; trim stem. Rub all cut surfaces with remaining lemon half to prevent discoloration. Drop artichokes into lemon water. Drain; pat dry. Place artichokes, lemon peel, oil, and rosemary sprig in 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cover baking pan tightly with foil and bake until artichokes are tender when heart is pierced with small knife, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil from pan (steam will escape).
Meanwhile, bring large saucepan of water to boil. Add fava beans and asparagus. Cook until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes; drain. Transfer vegetables to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry. Peel fava beans. do ahead Artichokes, fava beans, and asparagus can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Cook pasta in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 11/2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, place peas in small saucepan. Sprinkle with salt and add enough water just to cover. Bring peas to boil; drain well. Puree peas in blender until smooth.
Add tarragon and 3/4 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid to blender with peas; puree until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring butter and 1/3 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid to simmer in large skillet over high heat. Add artichokes, fava beans, asparagus, and spinach. Toss until spinach wilts and vegetables are heated through, about 2 minutes. Add pasta; toss to coat. Stir in pea puree; toss to coat. Divide among plates and serve, passing grated cheese, if desired.