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Cook the Book: Egg Noodles with Fava Beans, Leeks, and Morels

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Pasta primavera is a dish that generally sends me running in the opposite direction. The spring pasta should be nothing more than some briefly sautéed young spring vegetables tossed with pasta and a bit of olive oil, butter, or cream, but more often than not it's a gloopy plate of (usually frozen) peas and carrots in a slick of heavy alfredo sauce on top of pasta (that's been overcooked beyond recognition).

These Egg Noodles with Fava Beans, Leeks, and Morels from Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian is a fresh take on pasta primavera for all of us who have relegated the 1980s-popular dish to the dusty halls of dishes that have gone out of fashion.

It's a plate of pasta that brings together all of the wonderful vegetal elements of spring and pairs them with just the right amount of butter, cream, and pasta.

Nutty fresh fava beans, sweet oniony leeks, and earthy morels are sautéed together with butter and doused with cream to make a sauce that coats the egg-based pasta perfectly without overwhelming. As you might deduce from the list of ingredients for this recipe, it's a rich pasta, but not overly so.

The cream and butter are simply a means of extending the spring flavors of the vegetables. The simmering and reducing infuse the cream with all of the sweet, leeky goodness and all of the mushroomy flavors of the morels. And if you are one to go straight for the parmesan before tasting the pasta, I'd take a minute to consider the flavors of this dish before grating—this might be one of the only pastas where cheese would be superfluous.

A final word of advice for those serving this pasta: leeks and morels are seriously sandy. Make sure you've washed and soaked all of your ingredients before they hit the sauté pan, otherwise you'll have a plate of deliciously creamy pasta that's unfortunately gritty.

Win Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods to give away this week.

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