The fun thing about pasta is that it comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors. You can play around with it almost endlessly. When I saw this particular pasta, I was drawn by its beautiful red color, which comes from tomatoes. Once it’s cooked, it retains a soft reddish color and a mild tomato flavor.
After I purchased it, I held onto it for a while, waiting to come up with just the right recipe. It would have tasted wonderful with just a basic tomato sauce or pesto, but I wanted the dish I made with it to be special.
One day, I found fresh peas at the farmers’ market, and I knew right away that I wanted to use them with my tomato pasta. I envisioned the beautiful green peas against the read stands and I got excited. Then I picked up some asparagus and lemons and I was all set.
Meanwhile, my mother had squash growing in her garden, which means…squash blossoms. You can do various things with squash blossoms and adding them to a vegetable sauce for pasta is one. (Come back for my next blog for another recipe using squash blossoms.) If you can’t get your hands on squash blossoms, just omit them.
Since tomato pasta is not in every corner store, you can substitute any kind of pasta you like. The peas and asparagus will work with any type.
Tomato Tagliolini with Fresh Peas, Asparagus, & Squash Blossoms
1 lb. asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. tomato tagliolini (or any other pasta you prefer)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
½ lb. fresh peas, shelled
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 or 4 squash blossoms (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated parmigiana or Asiago
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Snap the ends off the asparagus (they will snap off at their natural tender point). In a bowl, toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Spread them out onto a baking sheet and roast, turning them over as needed, until tender and slightly browned (time will vary depending on thickness of asparagus). Cut in half and set aside.Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the pasta and 3 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring often, until al dente (follow the instructions on the package for time).Meanwhile, Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a wide skillet. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add peas and remaining salt and sauté until tender and they start to wrinkle, about 5 minutes.Add asparagus, lemon zest, squash blossoms (if using). Season with more pepper. Cook another 2 or 3 minutes.When the pasta is done, drain and transfer to a bowl. Add the vegetables. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle parmigiana over the top. Serve.