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Garden Veggie Pasta

Veggies are hard to resist in this simple side dish – a colorful and healthy accompaniment to almost any entrée!

8 oz green beans, cut 1.5 inches long
8 oz carrots, cut thinly on a bias, about 1 inch long
8 oz asparagus, cut 1.5 inches long
4 oz red bell pepper, cut into slivers 1.5 inches long
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 pound short pasta shapes, Fusilli, Farfalle, any shape or color is ok
4 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil, more to taste
6 garlic cloves, sliced
pinches of crushed red pepper to taste
juice and zest of 1/4 lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padana, or Locatelli Romano
sea salt flakes (fleur de sel) as needed
cracked black pepper

Boil two pots of salted water, one for the pasta, and a second 3-quart pot for the veggies. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Cut the green beans and add to the pot. Cut the carrots and add to the pot, once the two are almost tender, add the asparagus, bell peppers and mushrooms – blanching for a couple of minutes longer until all the veggies are crisp / tender.

Dry the pan and add 1/4-cup olive oil along with the garlic and pinches of crushed red pepper and sauté over medium heat. Once the garlic is light blond, add the veggies sauté until they show early signs of browning. Meanwhile, drain the pasta and place back in it’s pot, reserving a little of the pasta boiling water.

Toss the veggies and their oil with the pasta along with the fresh lemon juice, grated cheese. Place back on the stove to heat, taste and adjust, adding olive oil or cheese as needed. If the pasta needs a little more water or you want the dish ‘saucier’, splash with reserved pasta water.

When ready to serve, season each serving to taste with sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper. Serve as a side dish with a wide range of meat and seafood dishes.

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