Recipe: Spring Pasta With Parmesan And Lemon
One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.
At the Sylvia Center, we have a tried and true rule for our farm programs; you must have at least a “first taste.” Participants must try a little bit of each of the components we prepare and are encouraged to come back for more. With this Spring Pasta with Parmesan and Lemon, our first taste portions were greeted with skeptical looks and murmurings of “I already know I’m going to like it though…” The Girl Scouts at this program cleaned out the pan, with not one sole piece of farfalle left to tell the tale.
This pasta is simple, but everything is perfectly proportioned in the recipe so that each bite has a tantalizing coating of fresh, springtime flavors. Grating the first baby summer squashes of the season provides color and coats each piece of pasta with a delicate crunch. We suggest topping the pasta with edible flowers, too. It’s the perfect stage for chive blossoms to make their culinary debut if you’ve only passed by them warily in your garden before. They have a sweet taste with a subtle allium finish that’ll spice up many dishes in taste and presentation. Some of the Girl Scouts even popped a whole flower into their mouth, eyes widened with the permission to eat a real, intact, flower. Based on their subsequent reaction, The Sylvia Center staff would recommend chopping or tearing the flower, and sprinkling it lightly upon your dish. A little goes a long way!
Spring Pasta with Parmesan and Lemon
2 cups spinach, chiffonade
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into ½ pieces
1 summer squash, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
Pinch of cayenne pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, zested and juiced
⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 lb pasta
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to instructions or until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
2. While pasta is cooking, bring a large skillet to medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add onions and pinch of cayenne pepper and saute until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
3. Add asparagus and saute until bright green. Add spinach and squash and saute until soft. Add the pasta and reserved pasta water. Simmer until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Finish with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and grated Parmesan.