Orecchiette with Spring Greens

Erin McDowell

Spring has sprung, and this calls for a celebration. Presenting orecchiette with spring greens, a simple (yet flavorful) main that’s low-maintenance enough for a weeknight but elevated enough for a weekend dinner party. Oh, and we should mention, you can whip up this seasonal dish in 15 minutes.

Here, we call for peas and spinach, both of which are at their peak in spring. But you could just as easily switch it up and use another seasonal vegetable in their place. Leeks and ramps would both be delicious; just sauté them until tender before adding to the pasta.

Spring Pea Soup with Mint


1 pound orecchiette (or other small dried pasta)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

8 cups baby spinach

2 garlic cloves, minced

1¼ cups peas (fresh or thawed)

⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for finishing

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

⅓ cup chopped roasted almonds


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the orecchiette and cook until al dente according to the package instructions (or about 7 to 9 minutes).

2. While the pasta cooks, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach in batches, cooking until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and peas, and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.

3. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta and the reserved pasta water to the skillet and toss well to combine. Add the Parmesan and stir until the mixture is creamy, about 2 minutes more.

4. Season the pasta with salt and pepper (and red pepper flakes, if using). Garnish with almonds and Parmesan cheese before serving.

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