This Spring Veggie Mac and Cheese combines fresh spring vegetables like English Peas, asparagus and zucchini with creamy goat cheese and tangy lemon juice.
This spring vegetable macaroni and cheese dish is perfect served warm as a side or main dish. Incorporate spring veggies like english peas, asparagus and zucchini and add some tang by incorporating goat cheese, dry white wine, and lemon juice. Finish with a large handful of minced herbs and you have a mouth watering not-so-guilty mac n cheese that your family will love.
I’m especially proud of this recipe because I created it from scratch. With almost every new recipe that I have yet to make, my process starts with me googling something like “english pea recipes”. From there, I get my inspiration from pictures and recipes that I find on the internet, almost always tweaking every recipe I find based on the ingredients I have on hand and personal preference. With this spring veggie mac and cheese, I had the peas, asparagus, zucchini and goat cheese in my refrigerator. I was planning on making a kick ass frittata but never got the full inspiration to bring it to fruition. I didn’t want to waste my ingredients and my kids and I seriously bonded the day before when we took all the peas out of their pods. I couldn’t let those succulent little spheres go to waste. Anyway, I totally threw this pasta together as written in the recipe and BAM! Everyone loved it. As in, I wish I had made twice as much because we were fighting over the last bite.
In my opinion, the best part of this dish (and this isn’t the last time you’ll hear me say this) is the fresh herbs. I ADORE fresh herbs and use them whenever possible. The English peas were a close second, though. These are not frozen peas, mind you. These are fresh English peas. There’s no comparison. If you do not already know this for a fact, you must try them and let me know if you agree.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- one medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves fresh spring garlic (or 2 cloves traditional garlic), minced
- 1 cup fresh english peas
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 medium zucchini, sliced thin
- 5 ounces goat cheese
- one small lemon, juice and zest*
- 16 ounces pasta (bowties, shells etc.), cooked al dente**
- 1/2 cup minced herbs (basil, oregono, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, chives)
- 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- Boil salted water and cook pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Over medium high heat in heavy bottom stockpot, melt half the butter (2 tablespoons) in the oil and saute the onion until tender and starting to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking another 2 minutes.
- Add the peas and the wine and continue cooking until the liquid reduces by half.
- Turn the heat off and add the asparagus, zucchini, goat cheese, remaining butter (2 tablespoons), and lemon zest and juice. Allow everything to melt, then gently stir to combine.
- Add pasta, herbs and salt, stir to combine.
- Serve with shaved parmesan or pecorino romano.
** I cooked the entire 16oz package of pasta but ended up not using a big handful of it because I prefer a saucier pasta. This is a total preference thing. Feel free to use all of it, or slowly incorporate the pasta until you get your preferred sauce to pasta ratio.