Asparagus and rhubarb seem to be the two vegetables that are the poster children for spring. My favorite asparagus farmer sells his last bunch of asparagus on the fourth of July weekend, just as the farmer down the way is selling his first ear of corn of the season here in Portland, Oregon. We only have approximately two weeks to eat these tasty spears. The Farmers Market is a constant reminder of the change of seasons and of time passing so rapidly (for some of us anyway). Once again, mother earth is hinting at us to be grateful for our current bounty.
Another name for this pasta could be green pasta. All the fun spring vegetables are in attendance; asparagus, snap peas, sugar peas, zucchini and peas. The sauce is a simple olive oil and lemon to bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables. This spring fettuccine is a delicious meal that is great with a baguette and goat cheese. Capers were liberally added for their salty flavor. When I wrote capers down as an ingredient for this recipe, I asked myself: what is a caper? The Splendid Table did a podcast on just that topic. Here is a link to the interesting facts regarding capers. I could not have done a better job explaining the history and the what/why. You will be glad that you did.
In this recipe I use lemon preserves. I should have prefaced this post with “grab a cup of tea and get ready to read some helpful articles about preserved lemons and capers.” I remember when Trader Joe’s came out with jars of preserved lemons and people I spoke with were hesitant to make the purchase because they did not know how to use them. Cut them up and put them in almost everything seems to be the answer. What I like about them is that they have a longer life than a fresh lemon and as the article suggests gives any dish a deeper lemony flavor.
I look forward to hearing about how you use preserved lemons and your favorite recipes using capers. After reading the article on capers, I am eager to try the tomato caper pesto. Enjoy the end of spring!!!
Eating this bright green dish is a way of celebrating the now thankfully distant memory of winter – one that we survived in the Pacific Northwest of record rain and snow. It will brighten your day and you will feel happy that you are eating vegetables that we wait all year to devour. This Spring Fettuccine is my love letter to spring.
Serving Size: 4 main dish servings
1/2 package of fettuccine noodles ( 6 ounces)
1 chicken breast
1/2 bunch of asparagus
1 pint snow peas
1 pint snap peas
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 zucchini in match stick form
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 slices of lemon preserves chopped or a zest of a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Parmesan Cheese to sprinkle on the top
Get your timer ready.
Cook a chicken breast on the stove. A timer is very useful for this method.
Once the vegetables are prepped put them in a bowl and set aside. To prep vegetables you will want to de-string both the snap peas and snow peas, rinse the frozen peas with hot water in a strainer, dice the onion and cut the zucchini into match sticks.
Get a pot out and start boiling water for the pasta. Add the fettuccine to the boiling water and turn down the temperature 1-2 dial points. I usually set the timer for 10 minutes once pasta is in the pot. Occasionally stir the pasta to prevent sticking.
While the pasta is cooking, get a large skillet out and put enough oil to coat the bottom and put it on medium heat. Once the pan is hot cook the vegetables for approximately five minutes. Stirring them frequently.
This is where we put the dish all together. The done pasta is drained and put back into the pot. The vegetables are poured over the pasta. The sliced chicken joins the other ingredients along with the capers in the pot. Pour the oil and add the lemon. Add a pinch of salt. Mix the ingredients in the pot.
Serve in a bowl or on a plate. Add cheese on top.