Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pasta Primavera

Serves 4
Calories per serving: 445

3/4 pound whole-wheat or whole-grain penne
1 pound (1 bunch) medium asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch sections
1 15-ounce can chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons extra for serving
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 red onion, chopped small
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and cut into quarters or sixths, depending on size
1 cup frozen peas
2 pieces sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6-ounce bag baby spinach
2 scallions, chopped

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

2. Combine the asparagus, 1/4 cup of stock and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat until al dente, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with any remaining stock. Set aside.

3. In the same skillet, heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil with the garlic and onion over low heat. Cover and cook until the vegetables soften but do not brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Add the mushrooms, and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes. If mushrooms begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, add 2 tablespoons stock and stir to release. Add the peas, the rest of the stock and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook about two-thirds of the way, about 6 minutes.

5. Remove 1 cup of pasta water and add it to the skillet with the vegetables. Drain the pasta in a colander, and add it to the skillet. Bring liquid to a boil; cook until reduced by about one-half. Add all but about 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, the asparagus, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the spinach. Cook, tossing with tongs, until the liquid is reduced and thickened and the spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls, and sprinkle with scallions and sun-dried tomatoes. Drizzle each with 1/2 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

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