pasta that pops

Fresh bursts of flavor and color make this dish a perfect addition to your spring weeknight menu.
Recipe & photography by Twinkle VanWinkle

Pan-Seared Spring Veggie Pasta with Lemon Dill Brown Butter Pan Sauce
Makes about 5 to 6 1-cup servings

½ pound fresh or dried gemelli, farfalle or cavatappi pasta
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon kosher flake salt
1 clove fresh garlic, smashed, then finely minced
1 cup ruby radishes, thinly sliced
½ pound fresh asparagus tips, cut about 2 inches long
¼ cup diced sweet potato
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
½ teaspoon onion powder
2 cups chopped arugula or other spring greens (collards, Swiss chard, watercress)
1 cup fresh spring peas

Thinly sliced serrano chili
2-3 tablespoons radish, beet or broccoli microgreens
Shredded Parmesan

» Boil 4 quarts water and cook pasta according to directions for al dente texture. Typically, for fresh pasta, about 3-4 minutes. For dried pasta, about 9-10 minutes. Drain, put in a bowl, toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.

» Place butter in a light-colored pan so you can see the change in it. Don’t have a light-colored pan? A regular stainless steel or cast-iron pan will work as well. Using medium or medium-low heat, stir butter with a whisk or wooden spoon to keep it moving throughout the process. The butter will foam and sizzle, signifying a change in texture, but keep stirring. The whole process takes about 8-9 minutes until you begin to have a golden-brown color and some of the milk fats appear as small, brown crusty pieces. Remove the butter from heat by pouring it into a separate bowl.

» Once butter is removed, use the same already-hot pan and pour in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, then toss in garlic, radishes, asparagus and sweet potato. Turn heat up to medium high and sear for about 7-10 minutes.

» Once the vegetables begin to get a good sear, remove from heat and set aside. Heat the greens, then strain and set aside, returning the browned butter to the pan, along with lemon juice and onion powder. Add peas and greens and cook for a minute or more, then add the fresh dill, swirling with a wooden spoon for 30 seconds. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, swirling and tossing, making sure everything is coated well with butter. Sprinkle salt to taste.

» In a 6-quart bowl, toss 4 cups of the cooked pasta, all veggies and brown butter pan sauce, and toss until coated.

» Garnish with microgreens, chilies and Parmesan. Serve warm.