Spring Vegetable Pasta-America's Test Kitchen

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins

I love watching PBS's America's Test Kitchen. This is one of the recipes which appeared on the series, with adjustments. You can use Farfalle or Penne pasta if you wish.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Place dark green leek trimmings, asparagus trimmings, 1 cup peas, 2 minced garlic, vegetable broth, in large saucepan. Bring to simmer over high heat, then lower heat to medium-low and gently simmer 10 minutes. While broth simmers, combine mint, chives, and lemon zest in small bowl; set aside.
  2. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into 8-cup measuring cup, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have 5 cups broth; add water as needed to measure 5 cups). Discard solids and return broth to saucepan. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add sliced leeks and pinch salt; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until leeks begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus pieces and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add remaining 2 minced garlic cloves and pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining cup peas and continue to cook 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to plate and set aside. Wipe out pot.
  4. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  5. When wine is fully absorbed, add hot broth. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Remove pot from heat, stir in lemon juice, Parmesan, half of herb mixture, and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, passing Parmesan cheese and remaining herb mixture separately.
Most Helpful

A production worth the effort, this technique helps me approximate one of my favorite restaurant dishes: an easy (although time-consuming) delicate sauce that sets off the dish exquisitely. It's a 3-pot dish... First you create an ultra concentrated vegetable stock and save 5 quarts in a pot... Then you saute the vegetables in a Dutch oven, and save them in another pot. Finally, you cook the noodles and add back the vegetables and ultra stock, herbs, and Parmesan cheese. You end up with very little sauce, per se, but the noodles have already soaked up the wine and oil. We liked the herbs named in the recipe - mint goes especially well with peas - but this recipe lends itself to different herb combinations, perhaps with thyme or tarragon replacing the mint. Made for Summer Photo Tag game.

KateL June 10, 2012