Some of you might remember about a year ago when we came home from Rome with a hefty of book pasta recipes written in Italian. I’ve been using it as an incentive to work on my Italian and an excuse to explore/eat pasta… lots and lots of it. I could tell you this recipe is inspired by a few recipes in there but really this recipe is all about spring. Glorious springtime when the trees in Brooklyn fill with blooming bubblegum colored flowers and brilliant tulips line the streets of Manhattan in scarlet. It’s also when the produce section gets a face-lift. Little water filled tubs of asparagus and piles of locally grown leafy greens are just some of those springtime perks.
Asparagus is not only full of folate and vitamin C both things I’ve been trying to get more of since we’re trying for a family again but it’s good for everyone really. I mean when was the last time you were like “Man, I wish I had eaten less green vegetables today.”
Never. No one does that. Even the 2-quarter-pounders-with-bacon-and-fries-types know in their hearts that they aren’t being keep alive on the strawberry milkshake they get on the side.
We’re not a “health” blog but we are a good-eating blog and this incredibly quick and fast recipe is a prefect storm of both. This recipe does a great job of combining asparagus, zinc-packed pumpkin seeds, super food spinach and a little guy you may or may not know – Ramps!
Ramps are also called wild leeks or onions and are a lot like a scallion. You can tell the difference in the market by their “flag” tops. They’re cheap, flavorful and versatile. A little goes a long way. So if you don’t like garlic or onions – you may want to scale ’em back in this recipe because we’re pretty passionate about garlic. I may have gone a little crazy. We also invest in a lot of breath mints and had a pretty happy marriage so really why not go crazy with that garlic? I mean it’s great for you. It can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and make your kitchen feel like Napoli. All kinds of win.
Pasta with Asparagus & Ramp Pesto
1 16oz package of your favorite small to medium shaped pasta (we recommend using Lumachine – a small shell shaped tube pasta that’ll fill with the pesto but mini shells or orecchiette would also be great)
1 14oz can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained
8-10 Asparagus Spears, cut diagonally into 2-3 pieces about 3 inches long
1 1/2 cup Raw Spinach
2-3 Ramps (if you can’t find ramps – you can use leeks or green onions. It won’t be the same but it will be similar.)
1/4 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Lemon Peel, grated
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons White Wine
1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Pinch of Celery Seed
1 teaspoon Crushed Black Peppercorns
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Pumpkin Seeds, hulled
Prepare your pasta following the directions on the package. When your pasta shows the first signs of becoming tender, toss your asparagus and garbanzo beans in with your pasta to cook.
While your pasta, beans and asparagus are cooking, make your pesto. In your loyal food processor, toss in the remaining ingredients except the garlic and pumpkin seeds and puree into a thin sauce.
Once your pasta is tender, drain and return to the original pot. Using a large spoon, mix your pesto, garlic and pumpkin seeds into your warm pasta.
Serve hot with some of that white wine from the recipe and a little Charles Trenet.