lemon basil pasta with summer vegetables

friends have been raving about maria elia’s modern vegetarian cookery book for months. i’ve been resisting buying it as i have several other books which i need to make better use of but i finally succumbed a few weeks ago.

this lemony pasta with all my favourite seasonal vegetables – peas, broad beans and asparagus – was the first thing i cooked, not least as it was another way to use up some of the basil excess which i’ve been working my way through for the past week.

it’s got a freshness that belies the creamy sauce – the lemon and basil both contribute to this as did the fresh, barely cooked peas which i used. asparagus season is coming to an end in the uk so you need to hurry up and sneak this dish into your menu planning at some point soon.

i am sharing this dish with ruth from once upon a feast who is hosting this week's presto pasta nights.

maria elia’s capri lemon pasta with peas, broad beans and asparagus (serves 4)

300ml double cream

juice and finely grated zest of 2 lemons

a bunch of asparagus

450g fresh broad beans, podded (or 160g frozen)

400g fresh pasta, such as linguine, tagliatelle or spaghetti (abby note: i used dried tagliatelle)

450g fresh peas, podded (or 160g frozen)

4 tablespoons mascarpone (abby note: i used crème fraiche)

80g parmesan cheese, grated

a small bunch of basil, torn

salt and black pepper

if you only have dried pasta, just cook as directed on the packet, adding the vegetables three minutes before the end of cooking (abby note: i cooked my vegetables separately, adding them to a pan of boiling water, bringing it back to the boil for 30 seconds and then draining them).

put a large pot of salted water on to boil. meanwhile, pour the cream and lemon zest into a saucepan and carefully bring to the boil, then simmer for three minutes.

while the cream is simmering, prepare the asparagus: snap off the woody ends and cut into 3cm pieces. you could also peel the outer skin from the broad beans.

cook the pasta, peas, broad beans and asparagus together in the boiling water for three minutes or until the pasta is al dente. reserve 50ml of cooking water and drain the pasta, peas, beans and asparagus.

pour the cream into the cooking pot, add the lemon juice, mascarpone and reserved cooking water. return to the boil, add the pasta and vegetables, parmesan, basil and seasoning and toss together. divide between four bowls and serve immediately.