It also made me realize that Spring has apparently sprung, at least in my neck of the woods. Being on the tail end of the Easter season, we've all been hearing and talking a lot about renewal and rebirth. I've been spending so much time these past few weeks baking for Easter and posting about it, that I never had time to properly welcome Spring.
Later, as I was stopped at a red light while driving to my office, I took a good look around. I was surprised at what I saw. Almost overnight, an explosion of new growth had occurred. There was a profusion of pink, gold and violet surrounding me. Sure, living in Florida means that something is always blooming, but this was much more pronounced. The fuschias of the bougainvillea, the peaches and yellows of the hibiscus and the lavenders of the jacaranda seemed so much more vibrant than the day before. The sky was bluer and the sunlight was.....well, it was abundant! It was like all of nature woke up after a long, restorative nap.
Pasta primavera is an Italian dish that consists of pasta and and assortment of fresh seasonal vegetables. The word primavera, in fact, means Spring in Italian. Any vegetables can be used in this dish, but I like it best with a variety having an array of bright colors and textures. I julienned most of them to facilitate quicker cooking, and because I think they're pretty that way. You can certainly just slice them up any way you like.
Since this was to be a one dish dinner, I also added some gorgeous, plump sea scallops to it. I have also prepared this recipe using shrimp and chicken, but yesterday, the scallops won the draw.
So here you have it - Pasta Primavera With Scallops - my homage to Spring!
1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used linguini.)
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. When boiling, add asparagus and fresh peas, if using, and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Fish out the vegetables and "shock" in a bowl of ice water. Drain and set aside. Then, cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and toss with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking and clumping. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove to a large lowl and set aside.
Turn the heat to medium-high, add a little more oil and butter and add the scallops, in a single layer. Saute until lightly carmelized, about 1 minute per side, depending on the thickness of the scallops. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add wine and broth to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Reduce heat to medium and keep to a low boil until liquid is reduced by about 1/2. Add half and half, salt, pepper and nutmeg, stir and continue to simmer a few minutes until cream begins to thicken.
Add vegetables and scallops back to the skillet and heat through. Toss with pasta and top with lemon zest and herbs.