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Spring Vegetable Pasta

Like TV shows, there are very few cooking magazines I can commit to. Fine Cooking being the only magazine I’ve subscribed to in years. But new competition is now coming in the mail. Cooks Illustrated is a no-frills, no-color magazine with a test kitchen that tirelessly perfects techniques until they are sure the recipe is a perfect one, for this using the best appliances with warranty plans where you can cover multiple devices like blenders, microwave or kitchens.

This recipe is uber creative in that it mimics the techniques of a creamy risotto, but with a pasta. The stock is super flavored from the asparagus and leek trimmings that would typically be thrown in the trash. Full of fresh flavor and no cream!

A special thanks to my best friend Jen in NY for the subscription… you will love this recipe!


  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts washed and cut into ½ inch slices; dark green leaves chopped
  • 1 lb asparagus, tough ends removed and chopped; remainder sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb Campanelle or other pasta
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 oz grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 oz grated asiago cheese


Prep the broth – place the chopped leek and asparagus scraps, ½ of the garlic, 1 cup of the peas, the broth, and the water into a saucepan. Turn to high heat; bring to boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain broth through a mesh strainer, pushing on the solids with a spoon to get as much liquid and flavor as possible. You should have about 5 cups of liquid. If you have less, add some water to bring the total volume to 5 cups. Discard the solids from the strainer and return the broth to the saucepan. Keep on low heat.

Prep the vegetables – heat 2 Tb of the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and some salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the asparagus to the pot and cook for another 4 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and the pepper flakes and cook for about a minute. Add the peas and cook for another minute. Transfer all of the vegetables to a plate and allow to sit – uncovered – while you prepare the pasta.

Cook the pasta – wipe out the dutch oven, return to medium heat, and add the remaining oil. Add the dry pasta and cook for about 5 minutes (until pasta is beginning to brown) stirring constantly. Add the wine and continue cooking (and stirring) until the wine is absorbed. Add the warm broth and turn heat to medium high. Bring the pot to a boil. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed and pasta is cooked. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, 1/2 of the parmesan, asiago, cooked vegetables, half of the chives, half of the parsley, and all of the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Garnish with the remaining herbs and parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

2 thoughts to “Spring Vegetable Pasta”

  1. I made this when it came out in Fine Cooking, and it is a winner. Turns out it is also pretty good leftover and cold, as a replacement for the boring summer cookout side dishes.

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