I often throw together a pasta dish for a quick supper with whatever vegetables are on hand or look good at the farmers’ market. It is a great way to fit a lot of vegetables into a meal and use up any bits you might have lurking in your fridge. This recipe is comprised entirely of ingredients we currently have at The Smithy, so it makes a great dish if you’re popping by on your way home one day. The sauce is formed from cooking the vegetables and then adding a bit of pasta water to the pan, and melting in the goat cheese at the end, off heat. There are many variations to this general idea and I’ll do a few more as the season progresses to show how the formula can evolve, depending on what’s available.
1 quart shell peas
2 spring onions
1 bunch garlic scapes
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 cups spinach
3 cups mustard greens
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
8 oz pasta, such as cavatelli
¾ cup goat cheese
freshly ground black pepper
Shell the peas. Chop the spring onion bulbs to approximately ½ inch dice. Trim ends of garlic scapes and cut into ¼ inch length coins. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Wash spinach and mustard greens thoroughly and roughly chop.
Set a large pot of water over high heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, add a couple of tablespoons of kosher salt to the water. Begin cooking pasta, timing it according to package instructions, except taking 2 minutes off of the end of the cooking time. Do your best to time it so that you are almost done cooking the pasta at the same time as the vegetables are ready (cooking the vegetables in the pan takes approximately 12 minutes).
Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a medium sauté pan and heat a bit over medium heat. Add spring onions and sweat until they begin to become translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic scapes and cook until they just begin to turn bright green. Add tomatoes to pan and turn up the heat a bit, cooking until tomatoes just begin to soften. Add greens to pan as well as 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar and toss with other veg, cooking until the greens have wilted and are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Add almost fully cooked pasta to pan of cooked vegetables with approximately 6 ounces of the pasta water, as well as the peas, and cook for another two minutes until pasta is al dente and peas are just tender and bright green. There should be a bit of liquid still in the pan, which forms a sauce with the vegetables and goat cheese. If the pan is dry, add a bit more pasta water.
Turn the heat off, add the goat cheese and stir until the cheese just begins to melt. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.
Serves 3 as a main or 4 as a side dish.