Easy Spring Pastas

By Food & Wine

The perfect way to showcase beautiful Spring vegetables like peas, asparagus and leeks is in a delicious pasta dish. Here are five of F&W's best easy spring pasta recipes to take advantage of the season's outstanding produce.

Slideshow: Spring Pastas

Leek Mac and CheeseLeek Mac and Cheese

Leek Mac and Cheese
Cooks usually reserve dark, tough leek greens for stock. Here, F&W's Grace Parisi sautés them until they're soft and supple, then folds them into a luscious macaroni and cheese made with nutty Manchego. The earthiness of this mac and cheese makes it taste especially good with a substantial red wine like Zinfandel.

INGREDIENTS
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch leek greens (from 1 1/2 pounds of leeks), thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups half-and-half or whole milk
10 ounces Manchego cheese, shredded (2 1/2 cups)
1 pound elbow macaroni

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet. Add the leeks and cook over high heat, stirring just until slightly wilted, 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until very tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and cook over moderately high heat, whisking, for 2 minutes. Add the half-and-half and bring to a boil, whisking until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add 2 cups of the cheese, season with salt and pepper and whisk the cheese sauce until melted.
  3. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the macaroni until nearly al dente. Drain well. Add the macaroni and the cheese sauce to the leek greens and stir until combined.
  4. Transfer the macaroni to an 8-by-11-inch baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes, until bubbling. Turn the broiler on and broil the mac and cheese until golden brown on top, about 3 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
More Mac and Cheese Recipes and More Easy Spring Pastas

Penne with Asparagus, Sage and PeasPenne with Asparagus, Sage and Peas
Penne with Asparagus, Sage and Peas
For this simple spring dish, chef Cindy Pawlcyn folds penne with asparagus and sweet English peas, then adds a little cream for richness. A Sauvignon Blanc stands up well to all the green vegetables in the pasta. Take a look at the recipe.

More Asparagus Recipes and Even More Fresh Spring Pastas


Fusilli with Creamed Leek and SpinachFusilli with Creamed Leek and Spinach
Fusilli with Creamed Leek and Spinach
Sweet leeks are a fantastic compliment to the creamy sauce in this simple and quick pasta dish. View the recipe here.

More Delicious Spring Pastas and More Brilliant Quick Pastas


Orecchiette with Pancetta, Peas and Fresh HerbsOrecchiette with Pancetta, Peas and Fresh Herbs
Orecchiette with Pancetta, Peas and Fresh Herbs
This fragrant and fast pasta gets a kick of heat from chopped jalepeño. On to the recipe.

More Meaty Pastas and Even More Great Spring Pastas


Farfalle with Spring VegetablesFarfalle with Spring Vegetables
Bowtie Pasta with Spring Vegetables
San Francisco chef Douglas Monsalud serves hyper-seasonal dishes like this lemony pasta salad with lots of green vegetables and herbs. Here's the recipe.

More Vegetarian Pasta Recipes and Even More Easy Pastas for Spring

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