Spring Forward With These 7 Fresh, Seasonal Recipes

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It’s almost spring — according to the calendar, at least. Even if the weather outside hasn’t cooperated recently, you can still look forward to the fruits and vegetables that will be in season in a few short weeks. Eating seasonally can help cut down on your grocery bill, because the foods you buy are more likely to come from nearby farms. It is also a way to hit reset on your tastebuds, introducing new flavors through fresh produce. Here are seven recipes that bring some of the season’s best tastes to your table.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benreichelt/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benreichelt/

1. Artichokes

With antioxidants, folate, fiber, and vitamins C and K, artichokes are a healthy addition to your spring menus. This spinach artichoke pasta by Life Tastes Good serves four to six people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
  • 12 ounces fresh baby spinach (2 bags)
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, quartered and drained
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • crushed red pepper, to taste

Directions: Prepare penne as directed on package for al dente. Drain and set aside. In the same pot, over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic. Sauté for about 30 seconds and add all of the spinach. (Don’t worry — it’s not too much!) Cook spinach, stirring, for a few minutes until wilted. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from pot and reserve.

In the same pot, over mid-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add both cans of drained and quartered artichoke hearts. Cook these for a couple of minutes until they start to brown. Remove from the pot and reserve. In the same pot, over mid-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and whisk in 2 tablespoons flour until combined to a paste. Scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan for more flavor. Pour in 3 cups whole milk and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Don’t let it boil.

Add ½ cup Parmesan cheese and 1½ cups mozzarella cheese. Give it a taste and season as needed with salt and pepper. Don’t be put off by the overly milky taste of this sauce. Once you get the artichokes and the garlicky spinach in there, it will all come together. Add the reserved artichokes and pasta and toss gently to distribute, and then fold in the reserved spinach. Top with Italian breadcrumbs and crushed red pepper flakes (be careful with the pepper flakes — you don’t need much). Give it one more taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. Enjoy!

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