Practice your chiffonade and fine chopping skills with the herbs and vegetables in this recipe. This quintessential springtime pasta includes lots and lots of fresh herbs, as well as leafy greens. The specific vegetables and herbs used are up to you; choose what looks best at the market.
1 pound fettuccine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups thinly sliced mixed spring vegetables (asparagus, baby carrots, baby leeks, baby zucchini, green onions and sugar snap peas)
1 cup whole, shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas or baby lima beans, or mix of both
1 cup milk mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch or heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon thinly sliced lemon zest
2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup roughly chopped or chiffonade of mixed fresh herbs such as basil, chervil, chives, mint, parsley and tarragon, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 6 minutes. While pasta is cooking, scoop out 1 1/2 cups of pasta cooking water; set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, but not browned, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of reserved pasta water. Add the sliced vegetables and peas or lima beans (if using fresh). Cover and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the milk or cream and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer.
Drain the fettuccine and return to its cooking pot. Toss with the vegetables and cream sauce, arugula, Parmigiano, all but 1 tablespoon of the herbs, and the pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, adjust the consistency of the sauce with the remaining reserved 1/2 cup pasta water; the sauce should generously coat the vegetables and pasta. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining fresh herbs and the pine nuts. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional information: 390 calories, 14 grams fat, 55 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 460 milligrams sodium, 95 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams fiber.
– Adapted from Fine Cooking Fresh: 350 Recipes that Celebrate the Season by the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking magazine (Taunton Press, $19.95).
Panko-Crusted Chicken Paillards With Mustard Maple Sauce
Instead of pounding the chicken breasts, use a boning knife to cut them in half horizontally to make two even pieces.
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1 pound total and 1 inch thick)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard
1 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter
Place the chicken flat on a clean work surface. Carefully cut each breast in half horizontally so you have 4 pieces, each about 1/2 -inch thick at the thickest point.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, parsley and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard in large bowl. Place the panko crumbs on a plate. Place chicken in egg mixture; turn to coat and set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Dip each chicken piece in panko; turn to coat. Press the crumbs onto the chicken pieces so they stick. Add chicken to the skillet and cook until brown and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the broth, syrup, coarse-grained mustard and remaining 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.
Transfer chicken pieces to plates. Add broth mixture to skillet, bring to a boil and boil until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Spoon sauce alongside chicken and serve.
Nutritional information: 390 calories, 15 grams fat, 21 grams carbohydrates, 39 grams protein, 637 milligrams sodium, 158 milligrams cholesterol, 0.5 gram fiber.
– Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine, October 2009