It is Spring and there are so many wonderful new fruits and vegetables that are so good for you to be eaten and so little time. But visiting your local farmers market can make eating healthy an easy choice.
Your eyes will feast on the beautiful array of colorful food just waiting to be picked and cooked. Most are so simple to prepare and taste as fresh as ever. You don’t even need to live on a farm! So many choices and if you are straining to figure out what some of the foods are or how to best prepare them, just ask, the vendors are more than happy to help you.
This week I wanted to make a nice spring pasta salad but also incorporate some protein. Shrimp is my go to protein because it not only tastes amazing, but its so quick and easy to make (under 10 minutes) and practically goes with anything. The peas were fun to pick and once I came home it reminded me of my aunts place were we picked fruits and veggies. But less work. I also purchased some Russian kale because I found the leaves to be a bit more interesting and some fresh asparagus. I also purchased some amazing strawberries but that I will post about later. (Hello strawberry dessert!)
Eating healthy is really easy if you choose fresh ingredients. Their fresh smell is so enticing and they really cook up fast. Some or most of these veggies can be eaten raw if you prefer but I opted to quick cook them and eat something warm.
The saltiness of the Pecorino Romano cheese and the citrus of the lemon made me feel like I was back in Italy in the Amalfi Coast. There are lemon trees everywhere and you can get just about anything lemon. My kind of place. The food served there is also light but so full of flavor.
The pasta I used was pasta I purchased in Chelsea Market at an Italian grocery. It is a black pasta and tastes amazing. But you may use whatever pasta you have, no need to fret.
So, I hope you try this recipe and provide some feedback as I always love to hear from you. And as always, Enjoy!!!
Pasta Primavera with Shrimp, Asparagus, Kale & Peas
Ingredients: Serves 2
1 cup dry penne pasta
1/2 cup peas, I used shell peas from the farmers market
6 stalks asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch diagonal pieces
1 small bunch kale (about 4 cups Red Russian or Tuscan kale), stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 long stems fresh green onion, chopped diagonally
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup coarsely grated pecorino romano cheese, plus extra for topping
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 extra large shrimp, cleaned and deveined with tails on seasoned with kosher salt and cracked pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs; add the peas, asparagus and kale to the pot during the last 3 minutes of cooking and stir occasionally. Reserve 1/8 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and vegetables.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and when hot add in the shrimp. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, until pink on each side. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, all but 1 tablespoon chives, the lemon zest and juice, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a blender. Add 1 tablespoon cold water and pulse until smooth, scraping down the inside of the blender. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the tarragon and drizzle with olive oil.
Add the pasta and vegetables to the chive puree along with 1/8 cup of the reserved cooking water and ¼ cup of the cheese; season with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat, adding more cooking water to loosen, if necessary. Add in the cooked shrimp. Divide among two plates and serve topped with the remaining cheese and chives.