Good news! I recently purchased a new cookbook that was put out by America’s Test Kitchen. It’s called The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook and it’s got over 500 recipes that look rather incredible. I was looking for something that would expand my horizons and that would offer some recipes from a different culture. This book looks like it will fit the bill. I’m sure there’s some crossover from the same author’s vegetarian cookbook that I have, so I’ll have to skip those.
I’m also looking into some of Gordon Ramsay‘s cookbooks. I watch a lot of his TV shows and I like many of his seafood dishes. I’m also a fan of much of his technique. It’s fast and not too precise – just my style. Pinches of this and dashes of that. It’s just the way I am.
Although there’s some life in the pipeline, today’s recipe is the last in a three-part series from Williams-Sonoma. I pulled all three recipes this week from their Vegetarian For All Seasons cookbook and have been pleasantly surprised by each one of them. This one was called Angel Hair Pasta with Spring Vegetables. Since I modified it so much, I had to change the name. Honestly, it’s difficult to argue with my version because it came out perfectly.
This recipe has tons of great tasting vegetables in it. It’s not all that accurate to call this a pasta dish. It’s sort of like a vegetable dish with pasta mixed in. It’s got some fancy tomatoes, pan roasted Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, asparagus and salted angel hair pasta, just to name a few ingredients. The prep and cooking isn’t very challenging, but it’s also not as fast as some of the more recent recipes I’ve shared. I suggest you get all of the prep work done first and then move onto the cooking aspect of things.
Overall, this is a really nice dish. It’s has everything you need. Taste, texture and it’s filling to boot.
1 Pound Brussels Sprouts, Trimmed and Halved
2 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
1/2 Pound Baby Carrots, Halved Lengthwise
1 Pound Asparagus, Trimmed and Cut into 2 Inch Pieces
1 Sweet Onion, Trimmed and Chopped
1 Pound Angel Hair Pasta
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3 Cups Vegetable Broth
Ground Black Pepper
1 Pint Colorful Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
2 Ounces Parmesan Cheese, Grated
If you really love these types of veggies, don’t stop with what I listed above. You can add some sugar snap peas and things like that right next to the asparagus. Snap peas can be blanched using the same exact timing and method as the asparagus, so feel free to add them in. I’d say about a half pound would be good.
Prep All the Ingredients
As I mentioned above, life is much better after you prep all the ingredients before doing anything else. Since this is what I did, I decided to add some photos of what things are supposed to look like here.
First, I trimmed the butts off of the Brussels sprouts and then cut them in half, lengthwise.
Next, I cut the tough woody ends off of the bunch of asparagus and cut the remaining pieces into 2 inch lengths.
After that, I sliced the tomatoes, chopped the onion and just put the baby carrots into a bowl.
Cook the Brussels Sprouts
In my opinion, the Brussels sprouts are one of the best tasting ingredients in this dish. This is partly because of the vegetable itself, but mostly because of the cooking method used. This method wasn’t in the original recipe, but rather one I’ve been using for years. Follow this and you should find yourself eating some really delicious roasted Brussels sprouts.
Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet when it is to temperature. Then, add in the Brussels sprouts.
Add a few pinches of salt and pepper and toss the sprouts a few times to be sure they are all coated with the oil. Then, cover the skillet and let cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. After that time, add in the garlic, toss again, cover again and let cook for another 5 minutes. If, after initially cooking for a few minutes, you find that the sprouts are getting too dark, lower the heat a bit.
This process browns the Brussels sprouts with the bottom of the pan and steams them soft with the cover. It’s the perfect cooking method for a vegetable such as this.
Finally, add the cooked sprouts to a medium sized bowl for later use.
Blanch the Carrots & Asparagus
Fill a large pot about three quarters to the top with water. Then, add 1 tablespoon salt to the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, add the baby carrots, stir, and let cook for 2 minutes. After that time, use a strainer or slotted spoon to lift the carrots from the pot and add them to a bowl of ice water.
Next, add the asparagus to the same pot. Stir and let them cook for 1 minute. When finished, scoop them out with a spoon and place them in the same bowl as you placed the carrots.
Cook the Pasta
Using the same water as you just blanched the carrots and asparagus in, bring to a boil over high heat and then add the pasta. Mix well and let cook for just 4 or 5 minutes. Basically, the finished pasta should be soft but firm. When finished, pour the pasta, with the water, into a colander and shake a few times to remove any excess liquid.
After that, add the cooked pasta back to the original (off heat) pot and add about 4 tablespoons of olive oil to it. Stir in the olive oil so the spaghetti doesn’t stick to itself while you’re finishing up the rest of the cooking.
Brown the Onion
In the same skillet at you used previously, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and warm the pan over medium heat. Then, add in the onion and cook, while stirring, for about 7 or 8 minutes or until the onion begins to brown.
Add Broth, Asparagus & Carrots
After the onion has begun to brown, add in the broth. Turn the heat to high and let the broth reduce by half. This should take about 10 minutes. After that, reduce the heat to medium again and add in the carrots, asparagus and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Stir and let cook for 3 minutes.
In a large bowl, add the pasta and the contents of the skillet. Also add in the Brussels sprouts. Mix all these ingredients together until they’re combined well.
Plate & Serve
Divide the contents of the bowl among the dishes or bowls. Scatter the tomatoes over the ingredients and top everything with some grated Parmesan cheese. Finally, serve and enjoy.
The Final Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts & Angel Hair Pasta Dish
This was so good. You can just tell it is by looking at how everything was prepared. This one is definitely going on my list of greats that I’ll enjoy again. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!