It’s all in how you slice it. Texture plays a tremendous role in food so I play with slicing and dicing ingredients to achieve different effects. This seems really obvious, but when I watch other people cook, I’m not so sure. I made this springtime pasta twice in the last couple of weeks. The first time, for a quick, seasonally appropriate mid-week supper, I sliced cooked asparagus and braised leeks lengthwise into noodle-shaped pieces and combined them with linguine that was as wide as fettuccine when cooked. There was a consistency of texture between the vegetables and the noodles that was unctuous in a good way. There was also a satisfying, nearly monochromatic color range, tending from cream to green.
For a small party a week later, I repeated the combination of asparagus and leeks with pasta, but added parboiled snow peas, shelled fava beans and slivered spring radishes that had been marinated in rice vinegar and sugar while the other ingredients cooked. The crispy pink and green veggies created a visual and textural counterpoint to the softness of the vegetable and pasta noodles. The seasonal medley felt like spring – primavera — and we were happy.