Spring Pasta: with Asparagus and Peas; March Madness; The 2 Simpsons

Pasta with Asparagus and Peas

March Madness!

I might as well get in on the fun; take advantage of the name, as it were.  They're trying to take advantage of mine.

Or maybe the people at the 'March Madness Sports Book' thought their patrons would find my post on Avocados in Omelets stimulating.

And the people at the 'NCAA People's Official Sports Book' just thought my dissertation on Caramelized Onion Lasagne particularly fascinating. 

Between the two of them they left 132 TrackBacks on my blog last night.

I suppose I really ought to thank them. 

I knew that sports books existed before we moved to Ireland but they didn't play a big part in daily life in the Midwest.

They did in Ireland. 

We decided to move to Ireland in the fall of 1995. 

For those who do not remember the major event of that autumn, it was trying to discover 'who killed Mr. Burns' on 'The Simpson's'.

For those who do not remember the other  major event of that autumn it was the O.J. Simpson Trial.

Any of you who know the Irish can see where this is headed:  Every major and minor sports book in Ireland had odds on 'the 2 Simpson's: O.J. versus Homer'. 

It was all that was talked about on the radio and in the pubs.  The odds changed almost hourly and everyone was in on the action.

No one gave a rats ass about the actual trial; the actual guilt or innocence of any of the parties; and whether or not Mr. Burns could be resuscitated.

But everyone followed every tidbit on 'American television' so as to monitor their bets.

One could bet on one or the other; or any of several combined outcomes.  (Please don't ask me to explain: it was so fast and so rapidly changing it made my head spin.)

It put all of it in a totally different, surreal perspective.

It was so very Irish.

And now, thanks to all those TrackBacks (yes, deleted) I feel like I am, in some small way, a part of the American basketball scene…or is it baseball….  It's spring right?  Doesn't baseball start now?

Speaking of spring:  We are excited. (Aside from March Madness, of course.)

The "A" vegetables are returning: Artichokes and Asparagus.

Since we eat and shop seasonally, by choice as well as necessity (if it's not in season it's not available), we are never certain when they'll first make an appearance.  It can be as early as mid-March, like this year (YAY!!!!) or as late as mid-May, like 3 years ago (boooo!!!).

The earlier they appear, the longer the season, so be warned:  There will be a lot of "A" vegetable stuff appearing on these pages in the next weeks. 

You can bet on it!

With the return of spring the cooking, chez moi, undergoes a change.

The cast iron Dutch Oven used for stews and braises gets tucked away and the salad spinner comes out. 

The oven gets cleaned and the barbecue grill comes out of winter storage.

Yeah, I know, we're a bit early.  But that first steak, done in the dark, wearing a jacket and holding an umbrella is still damn good!

And to go with it: a lovely Spring Pasta, the perfect entry for Presto Pasta Nights, the love-child of Ruth, of Once Upon a Feast.  Visit her blog on the first day of spring for the complete round-up!

Spring Pasta with Asparagus and Peas

3/4 cup of peas, fresh or frozen (plain)
6 – 8 oz asparagus
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp flour
1/2 cup (4oz, 125ml) milk
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) ricotta
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup pasta, farfalle

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. While pasta cooks:
The vegetables: Trim and roll-cut asparagus into 1" (2.5cm) lengths. (To roll-cut: cut the end off at an angle, roll 1/4 turn and slice at the same angle, roll 1/4 and slice, etc. This gives you interesting looking pieces with lots of surface.) Bring a large saucepan half full of water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. Add peas after 2 minutes. Drain and pour into a bowl of cold water. When cool, drain well.
The sauce: In a small saucepan heat the butter over low heat. Add flour and stir with a whisk for 1 minute. Add a little milk and whisk to combine. Turn heat up to medium and keep adding milk, a little at a time and whisking. When it's thick and starting to boil stir in ricotta, tarragon and mustard. Keep warm until needed.
To assemble: Put drained pasta in a bowl. Add sauce and toss to combine. Add vegetables, combine, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

I know, I know:  A proper pasta dish should have more pasta then 'sauce'. 

I'm having my own version of March Madness and it has to do with gorging myself on spring veggies!

Don't forget: I'm hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week!  Send your entries to thyme2.kate@gmail.com.  Come on and play with me!  Join the Spring Madness!

17 thoughts on “Spring Pasta: with Asparagus and Peas; March Madness; The 2 Simpsons”

  1. Okay, I’m serving this tonight even though I have to go shopping for everything in the recipe today! Sounds absolutely wonderful!

  2. Katie, on a whim I followed your link to dog and cat stories and delighted in the new (to me) one about the dog, the cat, the chicken leg, your mari and the ensuing struggle! Hilarious, although I’m sure your mari doesn’t think so, even to this day! Thanks for the fun!

  3. lol@ the March Madness random links.
    And who cares about the sauce to pasta ratio–this sure looks good and delicious to me!

  4. Tigerfish, it is rather Irish, isn’t it? All those lovely greens…
    Lydia, it really varies when the season starts here. This is the earliest I remember!
    Zoomie, I hope you like that pasta! Mon mari never did take kindly to that dog….
    Mike, I could’t believe all of it…. Madness, indeed!

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  6. This sounds delicious, Katie! Coincidentally, Dijon mustard and tarragon both got into the act in my kitchen this week.
    Regarding sports, March Madness refers to basketball. I know that only because it’s impossible to escape it here. Personally, though, the sports section of the newspaper sees action in our house only when we paint.

  7. Mmm – sounds lovely. I can’t wait for that stuff to appear around here.
    BTW – my daughter asked for a spaetzle omelet the other day. My husband, bless his hear, made it for her. He thought it was an inspired combination.

  8. Thank God for Spring!!! Bring it onnnnnnn. I just wrote about this month being Green, I thought you would understand me, as no one else seems to get it.
    I found some wild asparagus, being all in the french rustic foraging lifestyle now. Nature is so wonderful.
    Your sausage comment had me laughing! You are the best, I’ll send you some casings soon.

  9. The dish sounds perfect. And you have me wimpering for a bbq to cook on. It’s one of the things I miss here…I used to use mine even in the dead of winter.
    As I look out my window, dreaming of spring, all I see is snow falling 🙁 So asparagus & peas is the closest I’ll get for a while. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  10. Terry, that’s when it sees action in our house, too! I used to like high school sports – but not professional.
    Tanna, we’ll be pigging out on it for the next month or two!
    Chris, it seems to be taking it’s sweet time this year – everywhere!
    Magpie, Iagree with your husband…. Your daughter shows marvelous taste!
    Riana, my s-i-l always found wild asparagus in Wisconsin – but she wouldnever tell me where… 10′ pole, indeed!
    Jeanne, I don’t mind at all – I’m on my way to check it out!
    Ruth, for you snow; for us torrential rains follow our 3 whole days of sunshine, sigh!

  11. Now THAT is some good-looking spring pasta! My favorite March madness pool this year? The Lost one on Washington Post. 🙂

  12. swirlingnotions, I have to admit that I haven’t gotten into Lost. We were a little late getting it…and I can’t figure out how these people can be ‘lost’ and not loose weight… I mean, there are no McD’s there, right? They should all be verging on emaciated by now…

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