Springtime Pasta with Fennel and Leeks
IMPRESS YOURSELF WHEN YOU WHIP UP THIS BREEZY, BRIGHT, AND COLORFUL LINGUINE
This vibrant dish is a celebration of the spring-summer bounty, featuring blistered tomatoes, fresh leeks, and snap peas. It's also prime time for fennel season, a bulbous plant and natural diuretic which helps with water retention (a great plant ally in these warmer months). The final flourish of the creamy sauce gives off an indulgent first impression, but it's actually made with sunflower seeds and celery root. Celery root is packed with antioxidants and a powerful digestion aid, making it an excellent pairing with pasta to nix potential bloat.
Enjoy this satiating meal al fresco, with some natural wine, and pile on the dark, leafy greens.
Pasta + Accoutrements:
- ½ pound of pasta (for this recipe, gluten-free linguine is used)
- ½ leek or onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 small fennel bulb, cut in half and sliced
- ½ cup whole cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups dark leafy greens
- 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, cut in half
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Pinch of thyme
- Salt + pepper to taste
- ½ lemon
- Optional: handful of chopped basil
Sunflower Cream Sauce:
- ½ cup sunflower seeds (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes or overnight)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 carrot, rough chopped
- ½ celeriac/celery root, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ cup of water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt + pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to directions on the package.
- While the pasta is cooking, place sunflower seeds, 2 garlic cloves, carrot, celery root, nutritional yeast, and olive into a blender and turn on low setting. As the mixture blends, push down the sides with a tamper if available. After 1 minute, add water and turn the blender to medium-high and blend until completely smooth, around 5 minutes. Add more water if necessary to achieve the desired creamy, smooth consistency.
- Place an oiled pan on medium heat and add the sliced leek, sliced fennel, and diced garlic. Add in salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and red pepper and cook until translucent and beginning to brown, around 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add in your greens and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes and transfer ingredients to a small bowl.
- In the same pan the vegetables were cooked in, add in ½ cup of halved fresh cherry tomatoes and a teaspoon of olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-high, sprinkle with salt, and cook until the tomatoes are blistered, about 3 minutes.
- Add the sunflower sauce to the strained pasta and mix well so that all the pasta is coated. Transfer to bowl or serving dish and garnish with blistered tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, fresh snap peas, sautéed leeks, fennel, garlic, greens and top with fresh fennel frond, basil, and a squeeze of lemon.
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