Spring Pea and Asparagus Pasta

Spring Pea and Asparagus Pasta

My search for clarity has left me empty-handed this week, which isn’t to say that I haven’t tried. There have been long walks and talks with friends, vinyasas at yoga class and lots of sleep, maybe too much. Though my preoccupied mind and tiny kitchen haven’t produced any original recipes worth sharing this week, I am glad to share this one. I was flipping through a cookbook during a phone call when this recipe spoke to me. It’s seasonally appropriate, bursting with flavor and gorgeous green hues, and from one of my most trusted resources, Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen.


Beware that this recipe requires some serious chopping work, but the end result is worth the effort. The recipe yields quite a bit of food, enough for six to eight servings, so it may be best created with helpers and shared with a small crowd. I’ve realized lately that good food tastes much better when shared.

shallotspeas and asparagusSpring Pea and Asparagus Pasta Recipe

Spring Pea and Asparagus Pasta
5.0 from 4 reviews
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A very green pasta dish bursting with spring flavors, including peas, asparagus and fresh herbs. Once you have prepped your vegetables, the dish comes together rather quickly. This recipe yields a lot (enough for 6 to 8 servings) so feel free to halve it if you are serving two.
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) whole grain pasta (conchiglie, orecchiette, shells, fusilli or linguine will work)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 5 shallots, quartered lengthwise and sliced very thin crosswise
  • 1 pound pencil-thin asparagus, woody ends snapped off, and cut in ½-inch slices on the bias
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups shelled fresh or frozen English peas (defrost peas if frozen)
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or regular Parmesan), plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from one lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (less than one lemon)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped mixed herbs (I used flat-leaf Italian parsley, chives and mint, other suggestions include chervil and tarragon)
  • ¾ cup toasted pine nuts
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. First, prep your vegetables. Then bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta for two minutes less than the package directions. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in your largest frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the asparagus and garlic, season with salt, and cook until the asparagus is knife-tender and bright green (about 3 minutes). Stir in the peas and cook until the peas are bright green (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add the drained pasta to the pan along with 1 cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss to coat. Cook until the sauce starts to coat the pasta (about 2 minutes). Remove the pan from heat and transfer its contents to a large serving bowl. Add the cheese and butter and stir to coat. (Add more pasta water as needed. The sauce should just cling to the pasta.)
  5. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs and pine nuts. Taste and adjust seasonings as required (add a pinch of salt, red pepper flakes and/or a squeeze of lemon juice if desired). Grate some cheese over the top and garnish with freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.



  1. says

    The simple flavors and loads of asparagus are calling my name. This looks fabulous! I’ve been looking to pick up that book…definitely need to!

  2. says

    I am sorry you aren’t reaching any clarity with whatever seems to be getting you down. I really hope your heart is lightened soon! This is one of my favorite ultimate comfort food recipes from that beautiful cookbook. So good!

  3. says

    Sounds like you’re dealing with some pretty heavy stuff… I hope things start to clear up for you soon! As for this pasta, you’ve done a beautiful job!! I have been hearing lots about Keys to the Kitchen lately and might have to get a copy for myself!

  4. Sarah says

    That looks so delicoius. I love all that green in there. I really want that cookbook since I keep hearing such good things about it.

  5. says

    i hope you find yourself back in your happy place after all this chaos leaves you… your writing is still beautiful, your food is still great, and you are lovely, as always! keep doing what you do and take things one step at a time. you are awesome!

  6. says

    Oh yes, pasta with all the freshest veg of spring! I love it. And it just so happens that I have both peas and asparagus in my crisper as we speak… :)

    • says

      Hi Doreen, I don’t provide nutrition details for my recipes, but you could calculate them at myfitnesspal.com if you would like.

  7. Brenda says

    This was great!! Next time I think I will add a little more garlic but overall we really liked it. I think the leftovers will be good cold too!

  8. Kai says

    Hi, Kate,

    I echo the other commenters – I really hope that whatever is challenging you right now passes soon, and that you are able to learn from it in a way that is ultimately rewarding. I’m sending you tooooooons of hugs from this new Chicago reader – I LOVE your blog, and have been sharing it with friends.


  9. Joey says

    I made your Spring Pea and Asparagus Pasta for dinner tonight, your Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus for an afternoon snack yesterday– both amazingly delicious and SO fresh with flavor! Thank you Kate!

  10. says

    I love spring and all the bright green vegetables it brings! Hoping for clarity for you and a few nice spring days that bring restoration :)

  11. says

    Oh Kate – here’s hoping clarity and calm come your way. Vinyasa and some good, comforting meals seem like a good bet. Thinking of you!

  12. says

    Pea season is here! Thanks for highlighting one of our favorite spring vegetables. We want to try this with extra cheese like Pecorino and add some Cremini mushrooms and artichokes.

    Good luck on your hunt for clarity. Looking forward to more spring posts.

  13. Megan says

    I am eating this as I type. It is delicious. I couldn’t justify the$32 for pine nuts so I used pumpkin seed instead, still rather tasty. Thanks for posting this!

    • says

      $32 for pine nuts is crazy! Glad you enjoyed the dish with pumpkin seeds. Toasted sliced almonds or sunflower seeds might also be nice.

  14. Jim says

    Made this with quinoa pasta and zucchini instead of asparagus and freshly shelled peas as a refrigerator cleaner dinner based on the fact that we had the peas. I can confirm at the family enjoyed it so thank you!

  15. says

    Hi Kate,

    I have just recently discovered your blog, and I love it. Not only do the recipes look great, I am grateful for the tips you have written for those of us who are just starting out in the food blogging world – very helpful. This recipe looks amazing and I think I’ll try it out soon, even though it’s now autumn so not so seasonal! Oh, and Cookie looks so cute, I personally think mongrels are the best :-)

  16. Jennifer Masefield says

    Didn’t have any of your suggested pasta shapes so used Cavatelli. Result was excellent, truly amazing combination of flavours. Thank you.

  17. Sharon says

    Kate love your recipes but wonder why you don’t put the nutritional values at the end of your recipes would really appreciate them thanks for the great recipes

    • says

      Hi Sharon, I’m sorry, I don’t provide nutrition information because it really varies based on the ingredients used. I don’t want to provide inaccurate information to my readers. I’d suggest running this recipe through myfitnesspal.com to calculate the facts.

  18. Stacey says

    I made your spring pea and asparagus pasta last night for dinner. The herbs (Italian parsley, chives and mint) that I used for the dish were refreshing. It is also one of those pasta dishes that wont surprisingly weigh you down due to a heavy sauce. Great for a week night dinner!

  19. Lisa says

    YUM! Did all the prep work while my kids napped this afternoon and dinner came together in a breeze! Thank you so much!!!!

  20. Stephanie says

    Made this for dinner last night – it was INSANE! Told my housemate that we were having a healthy dinner and she pulled a face. She then took leftovers for lunch today so I’m calling it a win.

    I actually forgot to put the butter in and it was still delicious. I am now off to plow the rest of your recipes :)

  21. Loni says

    I’m always looking for recipes that include a lot of veggies so this was perfect for me. It was my first time cooking with asparagus, fresh parsley, and scallions (I confused shallots with scallions. They’re both onion-like so I was close!). My favorite thing about this recipe was the flavoring that the lemon juice added and my last favorite was the big bite of parsley that I took! Thanks a lot!

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