Farmers Market Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, and Cherry Tomatoes

As much as I draw inspiration from cookbooks, blog posts and photos of food, the visual cues from a walk at the farmers’ market motivate my creativity more than any other medium. My last visit yielded organic asparagus, cherry tomatoes, fresh English peas, cauliflower, and a flat of strawberries. The veggies, minus the cauliflower became this yummy farmers market pasta dish and the strawberries became lunch snacks and homemade strawberry jam (you can find the basic recipe here – I just used all strawberries).

When I posted the photo of the pasta dish, I had so many requests for the recipe that I quickly wrote down notes of how I did it and promised I would write it up. My photo is limited to just this quick snap taken before gobbling it up.

Farmer's Market Pasta

Before preparing the pasta, I did a quick search for recipes to brainstorm about what order to cook the ingredients in and drew inspiration from this 2010 Bon Appetit recipe: Fettucine with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta.

Enjoy and drop me a note if you give it a try!

Do you shop at the farmers’ market in your area and if so, what are you most looking forward to during the late spring and summer growing seasons?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Farmers Market Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, and Cherry Tomatoes
Recipe type: main course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
This pasta dish can be prepared in just one pan and you can use whatever fresh veggies and herbs you have on hand. You can also prepare some parts ahead of time if that's how your schedule works best.
  • 1 box of pre-cut pancetta from Trader Joe's or about ½ - ⅔ cup chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (you can use onion also)
  • 1 clove of garlic sliced
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • Fresh asparagus - about 15 spears, snapped at the end and sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • Fresh english peas - pods removed - about ½ cup
  • Cherry tomatoes - about 15, cut in half
  • Penne - about ⅔ of a 1lb box
  • One meyer lemon - zested and juiced
  • Fresh italian parsley - ¼ cup chopped
  • Fresh basil - ¼ cup chopped
  • ¼ cup heavy cream or half and half (optional)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ⅛ - ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red chili peppers to taste (optional)
  1. I had pasta already prepared. If you don't, cook your pasta according to package directions - you can certainly use other pasta shapes than penne but I liked how easily this pasta mixed with the veggies. Preparing the pasta ahead of time is a real time-saver at the end of a long day. The only downside is that you don't have the hot starchy pasta sauce to add to your sauce. I found this was not a problem with the use of the chicken stock to cook the veggies.
  2. Saute the pancetta until the fat is rendered and they are beginning to brown. Remove the pancetta from the pan onto a paper-towel lined plate to drain. This can be done ahead of time if you like.
  3. Leave the fat in the pan, removing excess if there is more than about 1 tablespoon of fat left.
  4. Heat a 12 inch skillet to medium. Add the shallots and garlic and let them start to soften for one or two minutes. Add some dried red chili peppers if you want some heat at this point as well. Then add the asparagus and peas and chicken stock/broth and salt and pepper to taste, allowing the veggies to cook for 2 - 3 minutes. They should be almost fork tender but not quite.
  5. Add in the cooked pasta, the lemon juice, lemon zest, tomatoes and mix. Then add the parsley and basil, a bit of cream if using, mix again and check for moisture. If it's too dry, you can add more cream, more chicken stock, more lemon juice, some hot pasta liquid or some white wine (whatever strikes your fancy).
  6. Once it is all warmed through, add in the parmesan cheese, olive oil and some more salt and pepper to taste mixing one last time.
  7. Serve in bowls with a bit more basil, parmesan, and olive oil sprinkled on top if you like.


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21 Responses to Farmers Market Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, and Cherry Tomatoes

  1. Lizthechef May 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    This really looks like spring! I am always on the hunt for rhubarb for my husband’s seasonal pie.

    • Beth Lee May 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      I think I saw some rhubarb last time I hit the market but for some reason I didn’t buy any. It would have been great in the strawberry jam! Thanks for stopping by Liz! Hope you had a great birthday.

  2. Carol Sacks May 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    So fresh and colorful! Lovely dish, Beth.

    • Beth Lee May 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      For a minute while I wrote this, I stopped and imagined that my farmers’ market was half as lovely as yours :-). But I’m not complaining, access to one twice a week, small or not, is fantastic!

  3. Sandy Corman May 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Looks delish. Too tired to make today.Been working outside mostly at the pool which has something wrong with it every time I check it. Today a clamp came off the hose so did a quick stop at Leslies. All fixed I hope. But I will get some of the ingredients next time and try it.

    • Beth Lee May 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      yes – you should try this – you don’t have to follow the recipe word for word – just follow the basic idea using what you have on hand. And you can make extra for lunch the next day or another dinner.

  4. Hannah May 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    Such a bright, colorful dish, Beth – just bursting with flavor! What a celebration of spring you created. I agree, strolling through the market is the best inspiration. I am crazy about berries, so I pounce on flats when I see them. But really, I love all of the spring and summer bounty…my husband jokes that I just bring him along to carry the loot!

    • Beth Lee May 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      Ha – you’re lucky your hubby will go. Mine will visit markets with me when we travel but at home @dormantchef is also @dormantshopper 🙂

      • Hannah May 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

        I ply him with ginger beer and tamales along the way…thank goodness for all the food stalls!

  5. Deb May 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    A perfect dinner Beth! Easy to prepare, with a flexible recipe and vibrant seasonal ingredients, a very appealing recipe!

    • Beth Lee May 5, 2013 at 9:04 am #

      Always great to see your avatar in my comments Deb. So looking forward to meeting you in person. And isn’t it always exciting when the spring and summer harvest start appearing? It never really gets repetitive does it?

  6. misssrobin May 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    It looks so yummy! Nothing is yummier than fresh produce from the farmers’ market. Can’t wait until they start opening in our area. We live in Utah, so it’s very seasonal around here.

    Thanks for sharing. Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

    • Beth Lee May 5, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      When will the markets open in your area? Mid May? Hope it is warming up and starting to feel like spring and summer! Thanks for coming by.

  7. Tamara May 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    It’s one of my favorite warm weather dishes – pasta with some sort of cheese, peas and other veggies. My mouth is literally watering as I read this and I am about to leave for Trader Joe’s..pancetta on the list!

    • Beth Lee May 5, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      Great – hope you found the short-cut pre-chopped pancetta and enjoy some pasta this weekend. Let me know how it turns out!

  8. Phil May 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Your photos always make me want to run to the kitchen cupboard and pull out a pot! ;o)

  9. Kate July 1, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    I wanted to stop by and check out your site. You have so much yumminess going on!! And you have one of the cutest headers I’ve ever seen. I love it! =)

  10. Andrea Holloway July 1, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    Pasta dishes are easy ways to work more local ingredients into your diet. Local vegetables, meats, and cheeses make quick, delicious, healthful pasta dishes.

    • Beth Lee July 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      You are absolutely right and nowhere is that more evident than in Italy. Just came back and am always in awe of their fresh food and how creatively yet simply they use it. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Ronda Chesser Porter March 5, 2014 at 12:16 am #

    I LOVE THIS WAY OF COOKING! Since coming home from Italy I have become obsessed with cooking with what’s fresh and available daily at my local green grocer. Found you on the SITS linky. Great recipe – thanks for sharing! I’ll be back!

    • Beth Lee March 5, 2014 at 8:16 am #

      Thanks for coming by Ronda. Yes, I find myself unable to shop for one or two weeks of groceries anymore. I am much more motivated by what’s fresh or what feels right or doable that day. Will be over to check out your site later today!

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