Celebrate both the season and a vegetarian or veggie-loving mom with a menu bursting with spring flavor. This menu, which I developed for Vegetarian Times (Mother Love, April/May 2012), is all about the delicious details. Herbs in lemonade, homemade croutons, a pretty pasta shape, and a bright berry sauce on the flourless chocolate cake make this meal special. And the ingredients – basil, artichokes, peas and berries – scream spring.
Fill a vase with a bunch of basil in place of traditional flowers for a fresh-from-the-garden feel. Then pop open a bottle of dry Prosecco to toast mom and the budding season.
Vegetarian Mother’s Day Menu
Fusilli Col Buco with Braised Spring Vegetables (recipe below)
This dish is worth a trip to a gourmet shop or Italian market (like Eatly in NYC) to find an out-of-the-ordinary pasta such as fusilli col buco, but you can easily substitute a short fusilli or spaghetti for the long corkscrew pasta.
- 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp.)
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 cups dry white wine, preferably Italian
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 18 oz. fresh or frozen artichoke hearts, halved
- 20 baby carrots, diced (1 cup)
- 10 oz. baby bella mushrooms, halved
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 8 oz. dry fusilli col buco pasta
- 20 basil leaves, chopped (½ cup)
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add thyme, red pepper flakes, wine, broth, and lemon juice, then stir in artichokes, carrots, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add peas, and cook, covered, 5 minutes, or until peas are tender and bright green.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain, and return to pot.
- Add braised vegetables to pasta, and toss to combine. Add just enough vegetable-braising liquid to achieve preferred sauciness. Stir in basil and Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Liquid served from braising vegetables makes a light, brothy sauce for the noodles. If you prefer your pasta on the drier side, don’t add all the braising liquid when stirring the vegetables into the pasta.