Pasta With Prosciutto and Spring Vegetables

Although this recipe is called pasta with "spring" vegetables, you can make the dish year-round with good-quality frozen artichoke hearts and peas. If you prefer fresh peas and don't want to shell green ones, substitute crisp snap peas.

And if you want to use fresh artichokes, try to find baby ones in late spring. They're easier to work with than fully mature artichokes and the small hearts cook more quickly. Sear them in olive oil about 10 minutes before adding the other vegetables, then proceed with the recipe.

The rest of the fresh ingredients are available in most markets regardless of the season, although asparagus is sometimes not very appealing if the stalks are thick and rubbery. If you can't find good fresh asparagus in fall or winter, omit it and use slices of zucchini instead. Leeks are available year-round too, and they're a favorite in Italian dishes. Use them instead of the shallots in this recipe, if you prefer.

4 servings

Ingredients

8 oz whole-wheat spaghetti
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 oz artichoke hearts (fresh or frozen), coarsely chopped
4 oz asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (thick ends removed)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 tsp crushed fennel seed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1-inch strips
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
Parmigiano-Reggiano (or other hard Italian cheese), for grating
Preparation

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain.
Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots, garlic, artichoke hearts, and asparagus. Sauté 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and peas and season with fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes begin to break down but still have texture, 3-4 minutes.
Add the prosciutto and parsley and stir well to combine. Cook 1 minute longer.
Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to combine.

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