Pasta with Spring Vegetables


  • 4oz broccoli florets
  • 4oz baby leeks
  • 8oz asparagus
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 4oz fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 Tbs chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme and sage
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 12oz dried penne pasta
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese


Divide the broccoli florets into tiny sprigs. Cut the leeks and asparagus, diagonally into 2-inch lengths. Trim the fennel bulb and remove any tough outer leaves. Cut into wedges, leaving the layers attached at the root ends so that the pieces stay intact. Cook each prepared vegetable, including the peas, separately in boiling salted water for each vegetable. Drain well and keep warm. Melt butter in a separate pan, add chopped shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned. Stir in the herbs and cream and cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions until it is just al dente. Drain well and add to the sauce with the vegetables. Toss gently and season with plenty of pepper. Serve hot with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan.