A spring dish that foreshadows the Mediterranean summer, combining seasonal vegetables, freshness, and bright colours.
The stars of this simple and tasty recipe are the products of the Rocca delle Tre Contrade vegetable garden, first and foremost the peas and broad beans. Rich in vitamins and trace elements essential for physical well-being, including iron, copper, zinc, sodium, and potassium, these fast-cooking, sweet, and tasty pulses are precious ingredients for healthy, balanced cooking.
Combined with wild herbs, tomatoes, asparagus, courgettes, they can be made into a creamy soup or a colourful and “crunchy” spaghetti dish (the secret is to cook the pulses for just a few minutes): both versions are perfect for a light and nutritious spring lunch.
Dora offers us her delicious spaghetti, which she often cooks for her guests but even more often for Jon: this ultra-fresh mix of colours and flavours is one of the recipes that the master of the house loves best.
Clean the wild fennel (or fennel tops), keeping only the most tender fronds. Finely chop a tablespoon to use later. Boil the rest in 1-1.5 litres of water for 10 minutes to obtain the stock that will be the basis of the primavera sauce. Keep the stock warmed over a low heat while you prepare the next step. Peel the tomatoes (the easiest method is to drop them into boiling water for 10 seconds), clean the spring onion by removing the roots and finely chop the tender parts. Sauté a mix of vegetables in a large frying pan by wilting and lightly browning the finely chopped spring onion in olive oil.
Add the vegetables, cook and stir well, respecting the required cooking time and the following order:
Keep the pan over medium heat and stir continuously, allowing the flavours to meld as you add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the wild fennel stock. The sauce should not be too runny, so use as much stock as necessary to keep the vegetables blended evenly.
Cook over medium heat for a further 4-5 minutes: the total cooking time at this point should not exceed 10 minutes from when you started adding the first vegetables. This timing is essential to maintain the bright green colour and fresh flavour of the spring vegetables. Add the broad beans (also zucchini flowers if you have them) and 1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel fronds, remove from the heat and cover the pan. Now you can boil the water for the pasta in a large pot, following the cooking time indicated on the package. If you like, you can also add some fennel fronds to the cooking water. In the meantime, put 3 ladles of vegetable sauce into the blender, blend everything well and put the blended vegetables back into the pan to thicken your sauce.
Drain the pasta 1 minute before the indicated cooking time, so that it is al dente. Put the pasta back into the pot and add the vegetable sauce. Let them cook together for another minute or so, stirring well. Serve as is, adding just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
You can also use this recipe to prepare a spring soup. In that case, do not use pasta, but add all the stock to the sauce for a thinner consistency and serve as a soup.