Weeknight Cooking

Dinner Tonight: Minty Pasta + Asparagus Salad

May 17, 2012

Inspiration for tonight's dinner: fresh mint and its ability to make the stars of the season absolutely sing.

Spring is exploding outside, inside, at the farmers market, and in some of our hay fever-prone heads. This can only mean one thing: time to let the earthy gifts of May work their green magic on our weeknight dinner plates!

Asparagus's woodsy crunch is coaxed out by snippets of mint in Meatballs&Milkshakes' stunning Shaved Asparagus and Mint Salad. A tough act to follow, but lechef's rich and indulgent Pasta with Proscuitto, Snap Peas, Mint and Cream is up to the task. A mint-alicious feast of a weeknight dinner, and why not? As a very wise woman once said, "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful"*. 

Shop the Story

*Disclaimer: It is possible that Mae West may not have been referring to spring produce.

The Menu 

Shaved Asparagus and Mint Salad by Meatballs&Milkshakes


Pasta with Proscuitto, Snap Peas, Mint and Cream by lechef

The Grocery List (for 4)

1/4 pound proscuitto shank
1 pint cream
1/2 lb snap peas
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 bunch asparagus
1 handful of hazelnuts

I assume you have dried pasta (the recipe calls for farfalle or orecchiette but any small, bouncy pasta works), garlic, onions, salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar (preferably sherry), honey, parmesan, and a lemon. If not (and I really bet you do) add those pantry essentials to the list! 

The Plan

1. Pasta is happening tonight, so the first thing to do is get a big pot of generously salted water (supposedly it should taste like the ocean) on the stove. Now you can turn your attention to the salad. 

2. Shave all of that asparagus with a vegetable peeler. Sure, it sounds a little tedious, but it's also simple and meditative. Zone in on NPR, or some relaxing music and peel stresses of the day away. Toss the shavings with the hazelnuts. 

3. Prep the dressing for the salad and set it aside. 

4. Back to the pasta! It will require all of your attention for about 12 minutes, after which it will be creamy, hot and very ready to be eaten! Dress the salad and have a seat. 

5. Feast!

Aside: I say we pour a sunny, well-chilled Chenin blanc with this meal and pretend we're in France. Happy springtime, friends! 


Listen Now

Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

Listen Now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Miranda Rake

Written by: Miranda Rake

Miranda is a writer and editor in Portland, OR. She has a sweet, curious toddler, and is passionate about all of the usual things like farmers markets, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and swimming in the sea. She hates leaf blowers and writing in the third person. Until recently, she owned and operated a small jam company, as is typical for a Portland-based millennial like herself.