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Now that we’ve had a few weeks of spring weather on the West Coast, the menu at our house is starting to lighten up a bit. Less soups and stews in the rotation and more salads and dishes featuring fresh spring vegetables. Although, some of the rainy spring days still call for a warm cup of carrot ginger soup. About a month ago on one of the first warm sunny days this year, I wanted to make something for dinner that made me feel like we were well into spring and summer was just around the corner. I didn’t have any fresh spring vegetables just yet, but there was some frozen asparagus in the freezer, so I used that to make a pasta dish with avgolemono sauce that has been on repeat for lunch and dinner since.
This pasta dish is great for a quick weekday dinner or as part of a larger meal. I’ve made many variations since the original version, so the recipe calls for any seasonal spring vegetables. It’s easy to adapt to your taste preferences and what ever vegetables you have on hand. If you’re able to hit up your local Farmer’s Market for some asparagus spears and morels, I recommend this combination. Peas are a delicious addition too, but please don’t waste time shelling fresh peas for this recipe (those are best enjoyed straight from the pods). If spring is late to arrive where you are (sorry Eastern Canada) or you don’t have access to fresh produce at this time, your favourite canned or frozen vegetable will do just fine. Frozen asparagus, green beans and peas, or canned mushrooms and globe artichokes all work well.
You are probably familiar with avgolemono from the Greek chicken and rice soup with lemon that’s thickened with eggs (hence the name avgolemono). The sauce from this pasta is made from eggs and lemon juice with some parmesan added. To make the sauce whisk together eggs and lemon, then add a small amount of the cooking liquid from the pasta water very slowly while whisking continuously to temper the sauce. This slowly warms the egg and lemon mixture so when it’s added to the hot pasta and vegetables you don’t end up with scrambled eggs. I like to finish the dish with fresh lemon zest.
What vegetables are you going to try in this recipe? Let me know in the comments section below.
Avgolemono Pasta with Spring Vegetables
- 12 oz pasta noodles – see recipe notes*
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 medium lemon, juiced (or 1/4 cup lemon juice)
- 3 cups seasonal spring vegetables
- 1/4-1/3 cup pasta cooking water
- 1/3-1/2 cup grated parmesan
- lemon zest for garnish (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- In a bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice, set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare your vegetables (sauté or steam fresh vegetables, steam frozen vegetables, or rinse and drain canned vegetables).
- When the pasta is finished cooking, reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining (don’t rinse the pasta either) and use to finish the avgolemono sauce.
- Very slowly, while whisking the egg and lemon mixture continuously, add the hot pasta water until fully combined.
- In a large pan add pasta, vegetables, avgolemono sauce and parmesan and stir to combine. The sauce will thicken as you stir – add more cooking water if needed to thin out the sauce.
- When well combined, remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes for the sauce to thicken up. Divide into 4 dishes, top with lemon zest (if using) and serve immediately.
- Health Note: although the pasta water used for the sauce is very hot, there remains a possibility that the eggs are not fully cooked, so I would not recommend this dish for immunocompromised individuals.
- The recipe calls for in season vegetables, but it works well with frozen or canned vegetables too.
- *How much dry pasta is 12 oz? Depends on the type. Check this out: pasta portion guide