Spring Pea and Asparagus Pasta

Serving Size: 6

In the nearly four years we've been married, my husband and I have learned most of each others’ quirks. While we both do love a good Chipotle run, I definitely have my “single girl” dinners (read: salad, quinoa, Velveeta mac n’ cheese, cookies) whereas he has his own preferences (read: Chips, pizza rolls, frozen pizza, beer). Oftentimes we can agree on a home-cooked meal that satisfies both sets of taste buds, but it doesn’t always happen. And sometimes, I’m surprised by what he actually does like (because really, it’s mostly chips and pizza).

This pasta falls in the “surprising” category.He’d just come home from happy hour with a friend and, already having imbibed two beers and eaten an appetizer portion of spinach-artichoke dip all by himself (so proud, I am), I hardly expected him to even take a glance at the fresh, veggie-filled pasta meal I’d prepared for myself. Yet somehow, he managed to find some room in that bottomless stomach of his to not only try the pasta, but eat a full serving of it, happily.

My point is, this recipe is a keeper on our dinner rotation - snuggled in right next to the frozen pizza and the quinoa. And the Chipotle.


  • 1 Pound medium pasta shell
  • salt to taste
  • 0.75 cup roasted sunflower seeds (preferably unsalted)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used flat-leaf parsley, mint, chives and baby dill)
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 0.67 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cup sweet peas
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Pound asparagus, ends snapped off, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 shallots, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced widthwise
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook pasta shells 2 minutes less than package directs for al dente noodles. Drain noodles, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, some salt and pepper, and cook until shallots are lightly golden, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add asparagus, garlic and more salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, until asparagus is knife-tender, about 3 minutes. Add peas and cook another 2 minutes.
  4. Add pasta to the skillet along with a scant cup of the reserved pasta water. Cook, stirring often, until pasta is well coated, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer pasta mixture to a large serving bowl.
  5. Add cheese and butter; stir to coat (add more pasta water at this point if needed so that pasta is loose but not watery). Add lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs and sunflower seeds; stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle with more cheese and a drizzle of olive oil just before serving.

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