Spring has arrived. The sun shone, the air was warm and everyone I met on my walk to the beach remarked that maybe the last bitter cold temperatures were finished, all said with a sigh of relief. Fingers crossed. On the way to school, peaks of green asparagus are poking their heads through the chocolate soil on the Koo Wee Rup flats. So to celebrate my own sigh of relief, I’ve created a pasta dish with spring greens: asparagus and artichokes.
· Pasta provides healthy carbohydrates. A cup of white spaghetti contains 43 grams of carbohydrates, while a cup of whole-wheat spaghetti offers 37 grams of carbs. Carbs are a primary source of fuel. Whole-wheat pasta also provides a considerable amount of fibre which helps fight chronic diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes, and promotes digestive health.
· Both white and whole-wheat pastas are excellent sources of selenium, a mineral that activates antioxidant enzymes which protect your cells from molecular damage.
· White pasta is a source of folate (vitamin B9) and whole-wheat pasta is a source of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Folate helps in red blood cell development and rapid cell growth.
FETTUCCINI W ASPARAGUS & CREAMY MISO SAUCE
Makes 4 small plate servings
250 grams fettuccine
¾ cup pasta water
2 teaspoons chickpea miso
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches of asparagus
275 grams marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add salt and fettuccine, and cook until the fettuccine is al dente.
Bring water to boil in a small saucepan, cut the asparagus pears in half and break into 2 cm lengths discarding woody ends. Blanch for several minutes, drain water and plunge into chilled water to stop the cooking process so the asparagus will retain their bright green colour.
When the fettuccine is cooked al dente, scoop out ¾ cup of starchy water, and drain in a colander. Add the chickpea miso to the starchy water and stir until mixed. Return the fettuccine to a large frypan, add starchy miso water to the fry pan on a medium heat, and stir vigorously while the water is reducing to emulsify into a sauce. Take off the heat when the water is almost gone. Add asparagus, artichoke hearts, walnuts and mix gently. Serve and enjoy!