Mario Batali’s penne alla primavera

Chef Mario Batali shares some tasty Italian dishes from his ninth cookbook, “Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking,” that are easy to make and perfect for casual entertaining — including shaved asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano and penne alla primavera.

Shaved asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano
Servings:

Serves 6

Ingredients

    • 2 pounds medium asparagus, tough bottom ends snapped off
    • 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 2 tablespoons warm water
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • Maldon or other flaky sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Using a Benriner (Japanese mandoline) or other vegetable slicer, or a vegetable peeler, thinly shave the asparagus, making long diagonal shavings.Put the Parmigiano in a large bowl and whisk in the lemon juice and warm water. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil to make a loose emulsion. Add the asparagus and toss gently to coat. Season with salt if necessary and with pepper and serve.

Penne alla primavera
Servings:

Serves 6

Ingredients

    • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
    • 4 ounces morels, halved if large, or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 8 ounces asparagus, stalks sliced 1/2-inch thick on a bias, tips reserved separately
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed if frozen
    • 1 cup fava beans
    • 4 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
    • Maldon or other flaky sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 pound penne rigate
    • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
    • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
    • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until barely golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the carrots, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the sliced asparagus and cook for 2 minutes, then add the asparagus tips, peas, fava beans, and scallions, season well with Maldon salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until all the vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in another large pot and add 4 tablespoons kosher salt. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the water.Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the vegetables, stirring and tossing over medium heat to mix well. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and allow to steam together for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and a splash or two more of the reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce, then stir in the herbs and serve immediately, with grated Parmigiano on the side.

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