Rigatoni with Spring Veggies and Shrimp

 

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Hellllooo asparagus, we’ve been waiting for you! I purchased my first big, beautiful bunch of asparagus at the Farmer’s Market last weekend. This pasta dish was created a few weeks ago when I wanted a taste of Spring but also needed to clear out the fridge. On a quick side note: can we acknowledge that clean-the-fridge meals are sometimes the greatest?! It really taps into the creativity-wannabe-Chopped-contender side of home cooks and creates extra room for the weekend grocery shopping extravaganzas that happens when fresh fruits and vegetables finally look irresistible. My fruit and veggie drawers are the fullest they’ve been in months, and it’s great!

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Anyway, the pasta. Asparagus + tomatoes + shrimp + garlic + lemon + feta has to be the best Mediterranean spring-ish combination ever! The veggies provide crunch while the tomatoes slowly soften and release flavor that combines with lemon juice, white wine, and olive oil to coat each al dente noodle to perfection. Sprinkles of feta cheese, chives, and extra black pepper are the perfect garnishes to this easy Spring meal. I had some small shrimp in the freezer that I threw in, but chicken would also work if you have that on hand. Or leave out the meat alltogether for a vegetarian meal, you’ve got options!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Rigatoni noodles, or other pasta of your choice
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus; tough stems removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. small cooked shrimp (or protein of your choice: chicken breast, mushrooms, beef. etc.)
  • 1 lemon; zest and juice separated
  • 1/2 c. white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
  • 1/4 c. chives, minced + more for garnish
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta, for garnish
  • salt/pepper, to taste

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Begin by bringing a big pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions while making the sauce. Drain noodles when al dente and set aside.

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To make the sauce: Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes until it turns bright green. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the tomatoes are warmed through. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes.

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Add shrimp, or protein of choice.

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Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and white wine; simmer for 5 minutes until the alcohol cooks away and the sauce reduces slightly.

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Add the drained pasta, minced dill, and chives then stir to combine the pasta and the veggies focusing on coating each noodle with the white wine and lemon sauce.

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Spoon generous servings of pasta and veggies onto deep plates and sprinkle with crumbled feta, extra chives, and a sprinkle of black pepper. A completely satisfying, fast, and delicious Spring veggie-filled dinner that the whole family will love. Plus, extra special leftovers to take to work or school the next day…really doesn’t get any better than that! Until next time…enjoy! :)

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