WINE WITH…Pasta Primavera with Shrimp and Salmon
In Italy it is generally served in May and June, but many of us savor one version or another of pasta primavera year round. In the summer
we might dress the pasta up with juicy cherry tomatoes, slivers of zucchini and perhaps fresh corn. Fall calls for bites of butternut squash and leeks, while the winter version might feature spinach, shallots and shitake mushrooms. Still, there is nothing quite like celebrating spring--“primavera”--with the bounty of the season’s vegetables. Add a few scallops, a handful of shrimp, and/or a little fresh salmon and the dish is even more special.
Some dedicated foodies frown at the idea of adding Parmesan cheese to pasta with seafood, but we’ve enjoyed it that way in Italy and find it delicious. A tasty variation on the theme calls for Feta cheese instead of Parmesan.
Pasta Primavera with Shrimp and Salmon
Our favorite spring vegetable mix includes asparagus, green beans, artichoke hearts and peas, but other spring veggies such as pea pods, fennel or fiddlehead asparagus would also be good.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced spring onions or sweet onions such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
½ orange bell pepper cut in strips
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper
½ cup white wine
½ cup water
3 cups cooked mixed vegetables cut in 1 inch pieces
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
½ pound cooked shrimp
½ pound cooked salmon, cut or torn into 1-2 inch pieces
1 pound spaghetti, linguini or fettuccine
¼ cup Parmesan cheese plus more to pass at the table
¼ cup minced chives and/or parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet and add the sliced onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for a couple of minutes; then add the strips of bell pepper. Continue cooking until softened; then stir in the garlic and cook another few minutes. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper; then add the wine and water. Cook over high heat a few minutes until the mixture reduces by almost half.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the pasta, cooking it according to directions on the package. Save ½ cup of the pasta cooking water in case you need it; then drain the pasta and put it into a large serving bowl. Add the cooked vegetables, peas, shrimp and salmon to the skillet with the peppers and onions and reheat carefully until the ingredients are just warmed through.
Pour the mixture into the bowl with the pasta, add the parmesan cheese, drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and toss thoroughly. If it seems dry, pour in the reserved pasta cooking water and toss again. Sprinkle the minced herbs over the top and serve at once, passing more cheese at the table.
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This springtime dish calls for a wine that shares its, and the season’s, virtues -- freshness, energy and vibrancy. Forget whites that are noticeably oak-driven, or reds that offer aggressive tannins. Go instead for youthful vivacity. Whites generally work better than reds, but our tastings revealed that a light-bodied, fresh red wine can be mighty appealing.