Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Fever Pasta

Spring! I finally saw my first crocus! The lilacs have buds! I am positively giddy, and I may have gone a little crazy in the supermarket this past weekend. I’ll blame it on spring fever.

I promised you a recipe that wasn’t fish or cookies (or even Irish!). I was mulling over options when I found myself in the vegetable section of our local market and saw one of those bags of tiny peppers, in vivid yellow, orange and red. Ooh, pretty! (Hey, it’s been a long, dull, brown winter in New England.) Then I turned around and there was a basket of tiny tomatoes in the same colors. Light bulb moment!

And if that wasn’t enough, I had some humongous carrots waiting at home (they label them Rainbow Carrots, and they come in shades of orange, yellow and red). That clinched it. I wanted bright! Sunny! Cheerful!

I grabbed a package of fresh chives for color contrast and headed home to throw together a quick and easy pasta dish. This one’s simple, once you get done cutting up your vegetables.

Spring Fever Pasta

1 bag mini sweet peppers (in assorted colors)
1 package tiny tomatoes (likewise)
1 giant carrot (or a couple of smaller ones)
A bunch of fresh chives (use plenty, because 
they give a bit of onion flavor to the dish,
   as well as color)
Olive oil for cooking

Pasta of your choice (I used fettucine, but the kind doesn’t make much difference. This amount of sauce was about right for 12 ounces of pasta (not quite a full supermarket box), or two servings for hungry adults.)

Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse your peppers and tomatoes. For the peppers, cut off the stems and remove the seeds and any thick membranes. Cut into julienne strips. For the tomatoes, halve or quarter them (depending on size) and remove the seeds.

Teeny tiny cutters
Now here’s another crazy part. I love buying the colored carrots. They all taste about the same, but the colored ones are pretty. For some reason, recently the ones in our market have been immense (although reasonably tender), and I had a few left. I grabbed the pale yellow one.

I also had a set of miniature cutters, which I think was one of my flea market finds. It turned out they were all of tiny birds and animals. I looked at my giant carrot, and I looked at my cutters—and I decided to make birds and bunnies. (I could have made cows, but that made less sense to me.) So, peel your carrot(s), slice thinly, and cut out whatever shapes you feel like (that will fit inside a carrot slice). Or if you’re a normal sensible person, just julienne them like the rest of the vegetables.

Put on your pasta water to boil. Read the label, because cooking time for pasta is all over the map. Mine happened to need 11 minutes cooking time, which I figured was about right for putting together the sauce. Once the water came to a boil, I added the pasta and then turned to the sauce.

See? Fish and birds
In a sauté pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom over medium heat. Put in the carrots (they will take the longest to cook) and cook a couple of minutes until they’re softened. Add the peppers and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add the tomatoes and let them release their juices for a couple of minutes. Toss in the chives last. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Drain the pasta and place a serving in individual bowls. Spoon the vegetables over the top. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese if you like, or just enjoy the flavor of the vegetables on their own. And take a moment to enjoy the colors!

A Turn for the Bad is still sailing along.

Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


And coming in June: Dead End Street, the next book in the Museum Mystery series.

The New York Times bestselling author of Privy to the Dead returns to Philadelphia for more history—and a chilling mystery . . .
When the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society discovers it owns some unique real estate, a deadly plot unfolds . . .
Society president Nell Pratt believes life is finally going her way. Everything’s running smoothly at work, and her love life is thriving. Then some unexpected news rocks her foundation. Two members of a local neighborhood rescue program, Tyrone Blakeney and Cherisse Chapman, inform Nell that her society owns an abandoned row house in a rundown area of Philadelphia and they insist on taking her to see the property before its date with the wrecking ball.
But soon after they arrive at the house, Cherisse is fatally shot and Tyrone is badly injured. The police believe it’s just random violence in a bad neighborhood, but Nell thinks there’s more to it and is determined to find answers before someone else becomes history . . .

Available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble


  1. Sheila, I would never in a million years have thought of cutting carrots into bunny shapes -- but they look adorable! Thanks for a fun recipe!

  2. Maybe I should try a pasta with cheese--and cows!

  3. Those bunnies are very cute! The recipe sounds great, and so does the book. Yes, cooking should be fun. I'm glad you were having so much fun!

  4. I love all of the mini vegetables and the mixture of colors too. Omelets and quiches with the three or four colors of peppers are so beautiful and so inviting. Need to get your latest book too; this was a reminder. Thank you. Cynthia