PASTA PRIMAVERA WITH LEMONY BREADCRUMBS

This light Italian pasta can be made using just about any crisp, green vegetables you find at farmers’ markets, such as green beans, peas, and young courgettes/zucchini.

4 tablespoons light olive oil

2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon  finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup peas (frozen or freshly shelled)

2/3 cup green beans

1 brunch of baby asparagus, sliced

2 small courgettes/zucchini, cut into strips

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped

14 oz. spaghetti or tagliatelle

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat half the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and thyme and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, shaking the pan so that the breadcrumbs turn an even, golden color. Add 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Remove for the pan and set aside until needed. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add the peas, beans, asparagus and courgettes/zucchini. Return the water to a boil, then cook for 2 minutes until tender and drain well. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add the garlic and cook for just a few seconds to flavor the oil. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute until softened. Return the blanched vegetables to the pan with tomatoes, cook for 1 to 2 minutes and cover to keep warm.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add plenty salt and return to a boil. Cook the pasta of your choice according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and return it to the warm pan. Add vegetable and tomato mixture and half of the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the pasta between warmed serving plates, sprinkle wit the remaining breadcrumbs and serve immediately, topped with the rest of Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

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