Spring Vegetable & Basil Carbonara

photo-575This past weekend I took a trip to St. George in southern Utah for the first time. It was unbelievable, the scenery is so dramatic and colorful, it looks fake. Large red rocks, red sand and crisp blue sky makes you feel as though you are in a poster or movie. photo-578I also walked a Labyrinth for the first time in Kayenta at the Coyote Gulch Art Village. I had never walked in one before. There is one way in and one way out, by meandering through the path you reach the center stone where you can place an offering, prayer or write your name, before weaving through the path the same way you came in. Stepping over the stones or jumping out of the circle is bad luck and disrupts your journey. It was fun activity in a beautiful location! photo-9Walking through the Labyrinth was beautiful and calming- until I got to the center and realized I had to do the whole thing over again! But I was too afraid to jump the rocks for fear of upsetting some Earth God and paying for it later!

When the warmer weather arrives in the spring, I always crave fresh vegetables that are typically sparse in the winter. Even though you can get just about anything at market these days, you can always tell what produce is in season by how plump and vibrant it is! That is why this spring vegetable carbonara is a sweet spring treat!

The basil aioli is a lighter spin on pesto so you can enjoy the creaminess of carbonara with the bold flavors of fresh basil! Feel free to swap out other vegetables if they look fresher at the market! Enjoy!

Spring Vegetable & Basil Carbonara (serves 6-8)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, rubber band left on
  • 1 pound linguini
  • 1 cup Basil Aioli, recipe follows
  • 1 cup shaved pecorino
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Basil Aioli:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus (with rubber band on) and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water and let sit until cool, about 5 minutes. Remove from the ice water, remove the rubber band, and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Basil Aioli: Combine the garlic, egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor and run the machine to mix. (you can use a blender or food processor) With the machine running slowly drizzle in the vegetable and olive oil. (Basil Aioli can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  3. In another skillet add 2 tablespoons of butter and saute mushroom, zucchini, and pepper for 3-4 minutes, add tomatoes and peas and saute another 3-4 minutes until everything is tender. Add cut asparagus to mixture, toss and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the large pot of salted water used to cook the asparagus and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl. Add the Basil Aioli, veggies, shaved cheese, salt, and pepper. Garnish with additional shaved cheese and serve.

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

 

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Absurdly Addictive Asparagus

I hope all of you are recovering from your turkey comas and excess family time. Its weird how a 4 day vacation that revolves around eating can make you feel like you need a vacation after your vacation (or at least a gym membership). I had a wonderful weekend of eating, skiing and relaxing (and cooking) with Jake and friends. This recipe is one of my favorites from Food52 – which is literally one of the best cooking websites I’ve ever been to. You really can’t go wrong with pancetta, leeks and asparagus… So enjoy this Absurdly Addictive Asparagus recipe that is super simple and a guaranteed crowed pleaser (for your next holiday gathering) or a quick fix on any night! Enjoy!

Absurdly Addictive Asparagus (Click for Printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup leek, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1-2 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

First, chop pancetta, asparagus, and leeks and set aside. In a large non-stick pan, saute pancetta, stirring frequently until golden brown and slightly crispy.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. Add asparagus pieces and leeks and saute until asparagus becomes tender, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and saute another 1-2 minutes until fragrant and asparagus has reached desired tenderness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. This dish can be served along side just about anything! The citrus flavors of this dish work perfectly with a simple linguine with shrimp and lemon oil recipe that I love!

A French baguette to push it all onto your fork does the trick!