It’s time to mess with our inner clocks and the comfort of Circadian rhythm. Parents everywhere are in deep denial about the changes coming to bedtimes. Luke the wonder dog, who wakes us up at 5:50 AM every day, weekday or not, is about to have a struggle with his comforting routines. Will he be able to adjust to the 8:30 AM walk, now scheduled for 9:30 by his internal Swiss clock? How is he going to wait until 5:30 PM for his afternoon walk? I don’t think the powers that be give much thought to the careful routines and compromises hammered out in every family.
As we go hurtling through space on our blue planet, every day is new and different. I just don’t care to be rushed along. Spring will eventually wend its way to us, bringing flowers, birds, open windows and breezy zephyrs. Do we really need to jumpstart it three weeks early? It’s still going to be rather cool outside – we haven’t landed on the Ft. Lauderdale Spring Break square in our game of Life. We will still be buttoning up our overcoats and checking the thermostats.
That being said, if I make another pot of chili in this life my head will explode. Another simple roasted chicken in a cast iron skillet? Ditto. Fettucine Alfredo? It’s delicious on a Monday pasta night, but it has a billion calories, and I have made it every other week since September. It’s time to switch up. Maybe it is time to spring ahead.
Our clever friends at Bon Appétit have figured out a way to bring spring to the Monday pasta doldrums: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pasta-with-peas-asparagus-butter-lettuce-and-prosciutto
Pasta with Peas, Asparagus, Butter Lettuce and Prosciutto
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
1/2 pound spring onions or green onions (dark green parts discarded); white parts cut into 1/4-inch-thick
slices, pale green parts cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons minced shallot
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 2 pounds peas in pods) or 2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed
1 pound campanelle (trumpet-shaped pasta) or medium (about 1-inch) shell-shaped pasta
1 head of butter lettuce or Boston lettuce (about 6 ounces), cored, leaves cut into 3/4-inch-wide slices
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
Melt butter with 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and shallot. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Sauté until tender (do not brown), about 8 minutes. Add wine; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until liquid is reduced to glaze, about 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer; set aside.
Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to large bowl of ice water. Return water to boil. Add peas and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Using skimmer, transfer to bowl with asparagus. Drain vegetables.
Return water in pot to boil. Cook pasta until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, reheat onion mixture. Add lettuce and stir just until wilted, about 1 minute. Add drained asparagus and peas; stir until heated through.
Add pasta, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, and parsley to skillet with vegetables; toss, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle prosciutto over; drizzle with olive oil. Serve, passing more cheese alongside. It is a colorful dish, full of spring greens and pinks, rather like a digestible Lilly Pulitzer dress. There is nothing like a handful of peas and bright stalks of asparagus to get you prepared for the inevitability of spring. At whatever hour they say we must start enjoying it.
One hint – I used bowtie pasta which took longer to cook than I had anticipated. The butter lettuce I was wilting had almost liquefied and disappeared. (Try penne, or gasp, the shells called for in the recipe.) You can wait until the last minute before tossing those verdant lettuce leaves into the cooking pan. Add garlic bread and wine. Then sit out on the back porch and watch the sun set. Spring is on its way.
“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
― Pablo Neruda