Penne with Peas and Asparagus…When Spring Finally Arrives…

Every day for the past 14 years I have given thanks that my five mile commute has been on two-lane roads through the horse country of Chester County. On the days that I listen to the radio (rather than the early morning birdsong) I could swear that, like the wake-up news in “Ground Hog Day,” there is only one traffic report for the Philadelphia area — everything is congested, closed, backed-up and waiting for an accident to clear.

Our weather here in SE Pennsylvania has been similarly predictable this year. Spring will make a brief cameo around mid-day but just as soon as we think it might be safe to venture out for a walk, the rain, the wind and the chill come blasting back. Our local roads are cratered with huge car-size potholes and the flowering shrubs remain asleep, appearing to have agreed that discretion is the better part of valor. It seems that April is the new March.

Today is different. The temperature has actually been stable for the past few hours and while there are clouds in the sky, for the first time this year, there are no icy undertones in the breeze. If I listen closely, I can hear the birds in the distance nearly as clearly as those in the nearby gardens and fields.

I think, perhaps, that spring has finally arrived.

And so I am offering a prayer of thanksgiving for seasonable weather…and thinking about what to prepare for supper on the balcony tonight. How about?

Pinot Grigio
Radishes and French Bread
Pasta With Peas and Asparagus
Strawberries and Sorbet


If you have time to boil pasta, you have time to make this scrumptious spring-time entrée. It’s bright green, and filled with crunchy texture and the bright savory taste of herbs. Another good reason to have a stash of frozen pesto cubes in the freezer! ~ Glyn

Penne with Peas and Asparagus (serves 2)

4 oz penne (I used De Boles Rice Penne)
3 cubes frozen pesto or ¼ c prepared pesto (omit the parmesan for a vegan pesto)
6 slender stalks of asparagus
½ c fresh or frozen petite peas
1/4 c diced bacon or pancetta, cooked and drained (optional)
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts (optional)

Boil the water, and salt generously. Add the pasta and cook as directed on the package.
While the pasta cooks, thaw or heat the pesto.
Chop the asparagus into ½ inch pieces.
At three minutes left in cooking the penne, stir the asparagus and the peas into the boiling pasta.
When the penne is al dente, drain and return to the pan. Add the optional bacon.
Add the pesto, and stir to coat thoroughly. Top with the optional pine nuts.
Serve at once.

This entry was posted by Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk.

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