The original pasta primavera recipe, most often attributed to Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque in New York City, includes broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes and basil, none of which is exactly in peak supply in June. But why not reach for morels, asparagus, peas and dill? My primavera is the essence of the season, and you can prepare it well in advance -- even the day before. This recipe is pretty flexible. If you want to use pea shoots, for instance, but leave out the fresh peas, that's fine; leeks may be substituted for ramps. The dish may be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before serving.
RICE SALAD PRIMAVERA
Serves 8 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided, plus more to taste
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon, divided, best-quality olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped dill
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed
1 1/2 cups fresh shelled or frozen English peas
4 ramps, washed, trimmed and chopped (white and green parts)
1/4 pound morels, washed, dried and halved or quartered lengthwise, depending on the size (optional)
5 cups cooked basmati or jasmine rice
1 cup pea shoots (about 1/4 pound), broken into 1 1/2 -inch pieces
freshly ground black pepper
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar, Dijon mustard and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup olive oil in a slow stream, whisking continuously, until the dressing is emulsified. Add the dill.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the asparagus spears 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness. Remove with a slotted spoon; cool under running water. Drain. Cut the tips off the asparagus and cut the stalks into rounds about one-fourth-inch thick. Set aside.
Drop the peas into the boiling water and blanch 2 to 3 minutes, until just tender. Drain.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the ramps, saute for about a minute, then add the morels, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to taste, and cook till tender, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the rice with the peas, asparagus, ramps, morels and pea shoots. Toss with the dressing; you may have some left over. Adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Per serving: 313 calories, 6 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 16 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 0 grams cholesterol, 81 milligrams sodium.
Regina Schrambling wrote this article for the Los Angeles Times, which provided the recipe analysis.