Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Tale of Two Pastas

Over the winter, I've collected two recipes that I've been itching to try:  Pappardelle With Spring Vegetables, and Spring Vegetable Ragout With Fresh Pasta.  Now that we're starting to see the fruits (okay, veggies, actually) of spring, I finally get to make this!
Photo via Fine Cooking
The latter recipe is exceedingly simple.  It calls for blanching whatever baby spring vegetables you have, reducing that water to a vegetable broth, and tossing vegetables, fresh pasta, fresh herbs, and butter with the broth.  The former one is a bit more complex.  It calls for a quick sauté of the vegetables, and tossing with a sauce of shallot, seasonings (cayenne and celery seed), mascarpone, and reduced chicken stock.

When I look at the pictures of the two recipes, in both I see the ultimate taste of spring.  It should be crisp, incredibly light, and fresh tasting.  Because of that, I like the herbs from the latter, and I think the heaviness of mascarpone cheese called for in the former would be way too heavy.  On the other hand, I believe the sauté pan would give the vegetables a crispness that blanching wouldn't (think stir fry), and the dash of cayenne would definitely liven the dish.  While either vegetable broth & butter or chicken stock would make a wonderful sauce, I'm leaning towards stock.  The collagens it has (you're using homemade, right?) will give the sauce a silkiness that simple broth won't.

Photo via Fine Cooking
In either case, the great thing about these recipes is that they'll work for whatever young veggies you've got on hand at the moment.  I was at Nalls today, and picked up some asparagus and some beautiful young rainbow carrots that'll work fantastically.  So, whichever you pick, open a bottle of crisp white wine and enjoy the fruits -- er, veggies -- of spring!

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