Is it time for Pasta Primavera?

Posted on April 20, 2012


I think it is time!

I am still working on being more mindful in the daily celebration of my meals, and what better way than to pay more attention to the seasons and the bounty of produce the one upon us now signals.

Positive psychologists have identified mindfulness as one of the ways by which we can increase a sense of positive emotion in the present. Another is savoring. A third is preventing the development of habits.

You may have noticed I have been trying out all these strategies lately, in my reflection on the coffee cake habit, in my note on savoring not only my coconot oats but the process of preparing them, and in my celebratory ode to grilled cheese. Here I’m talking pasta and all the beautiful green veggies spring brings us.

I’ve learned a lot about seasonal eating in the past year, simply because I’ve started paying attention. It’s kind of hard to recognize what is in season when shopping at a grocery store that carries every kind of produce all year long, but the garden in my backyard was a great teacher. And this year, I am looking forward to learning more from the farm down the road!

The Crossroad Farm at Grossman’s is holding its grand reopening celebration this coming Saturday, and I am seriously looking forward to purchasing my CSA-style coupon books for the first time this season! Hoorah!

Happy spring! I hope you find many things to be positive about in your own community this season.

Pasta Primavera
with asparagus, arugula, and peas

1/2 lb penne pasta
olive oil
2 chicken breasts, deboned
salt, freshly ground black pepper
dried basil, dried oregano, garlic poweder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 bunch fresh asparagus, tough stems removed and cut in half
1 cup peas (if frozen, thawed)
2 cups arugula
1/2 cup heavy cream
fresh parsley, chopped
parmesan cheese

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Add a dash of salt, then add pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain, and transfer pasta to large bowl. Cover to keep warm.

In large skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium high heat. Slice chicken breasts lengthwise in half, to yield four thin cutlets. Season cutlets with salt, freshly ground black pepper, basil, oregano, and garlic powder on one side, then lay seasoned side down in heated skillet. Season top side, and flip when underside is browned. Cook until golden brown on both sides and chicken is cooked through. Set aside.

Deglaze pan with lemon juice, reduce heat to medium, then add aspargus. Season with salt, then cover and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add peas, and cook with cover off until warmed through, about another 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to bowl with pasta. Add heavy cream to juices remaining in skillet. Add a dash of salt and a little freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat to cool for a few minutes. Add a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.

Toss pasta and vegetables with cream. Cut chicken into strips. Plate pasta on top of a bed of arugula, then top with chicken, parmesan, and another grind of black pepper. Serve warm immediately. (Outside on the back patio if possible!)