Bright Spring Day Asparagus Pasta

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TIM NAUMAN PHOTOGRAPHY/www.timnauman.com
This easy pasta dish takes advantage of the spring season's finest offerings.

Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients:

2 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
12 ounces bowtie pasta
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed, chopped into 1-inch pieces with tips left whole
1 cup peas
1 cup fresh cooking greens (e.g., spinach, chard, dandelion), stems removed
2 tbsp olive oil
10 ounces smoked ham, such as Black Forest, diced (optional)
1 large leek (white and pale green parts) or sweet onion, chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup lemon crema (see recipe at end of article)
2 tbsp coarse brown mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Garnish: 1/4 cup
chives, chopped

Instructions:
Bring stock and mushrooms to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep. Add pasta
to boiling water, and cook for 7 minutes. Add asparagus, peas and greens, and
cook 3 minutes more, or until pasta is al dente. Drain the liquid and return
the pasta and veggies to the pot with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to keep the
pasta from sticking.

Heat remaining oil in a deep skillet, then sauté ham (if using), leek and
garlic over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in the crema, mustard, stock
and mushrooms, and cook over medium heat for a couple minutes. Toss with pasta
mixture, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with chives, and serve
immediately. 

See also:
Eat
In Season: Asparagus