We are T-minus 17 days, 2 hours, 21 minutes, and 13…12…11… (ok) seconds away from the kickoff to summer Farmer’s Market season, people! Can I get a hip-hip-hoor… Too much too early? (Told you I was a morning person!)
Either way, I’m so excited we officially we made it through the season that shall not be named. Except my poor friends in Denver – what in the world is happening in Denver?! I’m thinking you are more than ready to say goodbye to the fresh pow pow until next season.
Clearly the fragrance of blossoming trees and flowers perfuming the neighborhood has gone to my head, or maybe it’s the colors in this gorgeous plate of food that have got me in a tizzy, but spring is undeniably here and I’m celebrating with a big plate of Pasta with Roasted Spring Vegetables and Marinated Mozzarella!
This year I’m committing to going to the Farmer’s Market at least twice a month. My Mom and I were groupies for years but I was thrown off my game the summer after Lincoln was born because we’d always have to race back for his morning nap and just never got back into the groove. This year he’s old enough to really enjoy the lively music, Farmer’s Market treats (mango on a stick, kettlecorn, etc.) and fresh samples galore, so bottom line – we’re ready to make our return as Farmer’s Market regulars.
To be honest there isn’t a ton of variety to choose from in early spring in the Midwest, but what we do have in abundance are the foods I’ve included in this fresh and fabulous meatless pasta recipe (which would be delicious with a grilled steak or chicken breast.) I hate leaving the market empty handed, but will be able to stock up on local vegetables and herbs like asparagus, radishes, snap peas, onions, basil, and chives, which are roasted to perfection in this dish, when we head there in a couple weeks.
Joining the line up of freshness in this easy spring dinner recipe is gluten-free or regular pasta, a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and marinated mini mozzarella cheese balls. Have you seen these before? They are DIVINE, and add a bit of decadence to the dish. Plus the marinating oil, which is seasoned with herbs and spices, is used to create a bold yet barely there pasta sauce. Like I said, absolutely divine!
Two things I’ll say now so you don’t miss it – this recipe makes a TON of food but is easily halved or even quartered, and if you don’t like any of the spring vegetables I’ve included here (though promise me you’ll give roasted radishes a try – they taste nothing like they do raw!) you can use whatever you love and/or is in season where you live. You’ll just need 10-12 cups raw spring vegetables total. Told you this recipe feeds a crowd! ;)
Start by roasting the fresh spring vegetables. This dish is not only great to make after coming home from the Farmer’s Market, but at the end of the week to use up whatever you have leftover in your vegetable box!
Line two sheet pans with foil then spray with nonstick spray, and then divide 4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 bunch/2 small heads,) 1 bunch radishes cut into wedges (about 1-1/2 cups,) and 1 red onion chopped into 1″ sections between them. Drizzle the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper then toss to coat and roast for 10 minutes at 425 degrees.
Like I said – give radishes a try in this dish even if you don’t like them raw. They are so abundant (read: CHEAP!) around this time of year and get nice and mild-tasting once they’re roasted. Your family will probably think they’re eating red skinned potatoes!
While the vegetables are roasting, toss 2 cups snap peas (we have been eating these like CRAZY lately – so sweet!) and 1 bunch asparagus that’s been trimmed then cut into 2″ lengths with extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt and pepper in a bowl. Divide between the two baking sheets then stir everything together with a spatula and continue roasting for 8-10 more minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender but not overcooked.
When the vegetables go into the oven for the second time, add 12oz gluten-free (or regular if you don’t need to eat GF) medium-cut pasta like rotini into a big vat of salted boiling water then cook until al dente. Scoop out 1 cup pasta cooking water then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
While the pasta is cooking, get your mozzarella cheese ready.
You can usually find marinated mini mozzarella cheese balls in the deli or specialty meats/cheese section at the grocery store and if you can only find plain mini mozzarella cheese balls – no sweat, the dish will be a success! You’ll need an 8oz container of marinated mini cheese balls, which need to be sliced in half.
Once the pasta has been drained and returned to the pot, add 1/4 cup of the marinated cheese oil then stir to combine. The scent of this flavorful oil hitting the hot pasta is so Heavenly. Again, if you can’t find marinated cheese, just use plain extra virgin olive oil here.
Everybody into the pool! To the pasta add the roasted vegetables, 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 2 Tablespoons each chopped fresh basil and chives, and the halved mini mozzarella cheese balls then stir to combine. Add enough of the reserved pasta cooking water (or splashes of chicken broth if you always forget to reserve the water like me – whoops!) to create a thin sauce then season with additional salt and pepper to taste (you will likely need lots – this is a TON of food.)
Scoop onto plates then serve it up hot!
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Pasta with Roasted Spring Vegetables and Marinated Mozzarella
Pasta with Roasted Spring Vegetables and Marinated Mozzarella is a light and healthy, gluten-free main featuring fresh spring vegetables, and decadent marinated mozzarella balls.
- 4 cups broccoli florets (about 2 heads)
- 1 red onion, chopped into 1” cubes
- 1 bunch radishes, trimmed then cut into wedges (about 1-1/2 cups)
- 2 cups snap peas
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed then chopped into 2” lengths (about 2 cups)
- extra virgin olive oil
- garlic salt and pepper
- 12oz medium-cut pasta like rotini
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1/4 cup fresly grated parmesan cheese
- 8oz marinated mini mozzarella cheese balls, sliced in half + 1/4 cup of the marinating oil (see note)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line two large baking sheets with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Divide broccoli, red onion, and radishes between baking sheets then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with garlic salt and pepper, then toss with hands to coat. Roast for 10 minutes. In the meantime, add the snap peas and asparagus to a bowl then toss with extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper. Divide the asparagus and snap peas between the baking sheets then stir with a spatula and roast for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until all vegetables are crisp tender (do not overcook.)
- Once vegetables go back into the oven the second time, add pasta to boiling water then cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water then drain pasta and return to the pot. Add mozzarella cheese marinating oil, parmesan cheese, the roasted vegetables, fresh basil, and fresh chives then stir to combine. Add mozzarella cheese then stir to combine. Taste then add more salt, pepper, and/or reserved pasta cooking water until desired taste and consistency is reached, and then serve.
- Use whatever spring vegetables you like in this dish - just make sure they total 10-12 cups of chopped vegetables.
- This recipe feeds a crowd but can be easily halved or quartered.
- If you can only find regular mini mozzarella cheese balls, that's fine! Just use regular extra virgin olive oil to dress the cooked pasta.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Sweet, roasted spring vegetables, punchy fresh herbs, and man oh man, that warm marinated mozzarella cheese? This pasta with roasted spring vegetables totally knocks it out of the park. Hope you are able to enjoy often over the next couple of months, swapping spring vegetables for summer ones when the time comes. Enjoy!