Orecchiette Piccante con Scampi, Asparagi e Piselli

WELCOME SUMMER! (Yes, this recipe I originally posted in the sweltering heat and humidity of a New England late June… but, by updating my site, now you could bring some summer to your winter with it too!) In honor of this, I decided to make a simple, summery pasta last night after seeing some inspiration posted on a friends FB wall.  Lidia Bastianich’s Orrichiette con Asparagi e Piselli was my starting point and from there, I added a bit of lean protein and some other spices and (oops) omitted something which ended up changing the flavor profile to a cleaner and lighter “accidental’ surprise. Sometimes you forget to buy scallions and you aren’t willing to sacrifice a bunch of your fledgling onions for one dinner #amirite?

Orecchiette Piccante con Scampi, Asparagi e Piselli

Ingredients

  • 1lb frozen langostino tails
  • 1 bunch of thin asparagus, cut on bias in 1″ pieces
  • 10-12oz of frozen or fresh peas
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil (2 for cooking, 2 for finishing)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup fresh, flat leaf parsley, rough chopped
  • 1/2-1 tsp of red pepper flakes (use according to your spice preferences)
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns (optional, was a mistake on my part but made it awesome!)
  • 1/2-1 cup grated hard Italian cheese of choice (I use Parm Reggiano)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 box (lb) orecchiette pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Add 2 tbsp oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, and let it sizzle a minute. Add the frozen langostino tails and sauté in released liquid for 5 min to reduce slightly. Add the asparagus, and toss to coat it in the sauce. Cook and toss until the asparagus just begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Cover with a lid.

Uncover the asparagus, and at the same time add the orecchiette to the now boiling water. Add the peas to the asparagus, and season with the salt. Toss to combine, and cook about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and peppercorns if using and stir to combine. Add 1/2-1 cup pasta water. Bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by about half, about 3 to 4 minutes.

When the pasta is al dente, add with a spider/skimmer directly to the pan with veggies and langostino. Add the parsley, drizzle with some olive oil, and toss to coat the pasta in the sauce, adding a little pasta water if it seems too dry. Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese, toss, and serve.

This makes for a very light dish that is simple in it’s profile. So many options opened up once we tasted this dish that we can’t wait to make it again!  Adding mint and a bit of cream to the sauce… Adding a bit of lemon zest and a splash of white wine… adding a few capers and a 1bsp or 2 of sweet cream butter….

Finally, moderately stable temperatures and a garden that is starting to take off!  Beyond the annual snapping turtle disruption and the arrival of whatever likes to eat our brassicas and tender greens (damn you, groundhog! *shakes fist in the air*), we are gearing up for a season of new, home grown produce on the Farm.

Enjoy!

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