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"Joyful Curmudgeon" An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.


Hoffman Helpful Hint: Pasta Primavera – 19 March 2008
By Mary T. Hoffman

Yesterday, asparagus was on sale (limit four pounds) at the supermarket, so we bought four pounds and used it to make our Pasta Primavera with Asparagus, Carrots, Olives and Lemon Sauce. (See recipe below.)

We made the following few changes in this recipe: used 100% whole wheat gobbetti-shaped pasta this time, instead of the penne; four pounds of asparagus instead of three; omitted the garlic, olive oil, and starch; and used our large stainless steel wok to cook in.

We like to cook enough to last a few days, refrigerated. Then all we have to do is warm some up in the microwave oven. This recipe is also very tasty cold, as a pasta salad.

It’s always fun to make changes in recipes and experiment a little!

Pasta Primavera with Asparagus, Carrots, Olives and Lemon Sauce Recipe:


1 lb. Pasta, whole grain penne
3 lbs. Asparagus, fresh
1/2 lb. Carrots, fresh
1 Onion, large
2 tbsp. Garlic, cloves (estimate)
1/2 to 1 cup Lemon Juice
1 cup Water
1-1/2 tbsp. Oregano, dried
Hot Red Pepper, ground or sauce (to taste)
3-4 tbsp. Corn Starch
1 can Olives, ripe pitted (6 oz. net weight)
2 tbsp. Olive Oil, extra virgin (optional)


Wash and remove the bottom 1/2 inch of the asparagus stalks. Cut into 1 inch pieces and place in large covered baking dish (for microwaving), or a large covered pot for steaming on the stove top.

Wash and peel the carrots. Cut into slices and add to the cooking dish or pot. Peel and cut the onion into small pieces (not diced) and add to the cooking dish or pot.

If cooking in the microwave oven, cook for about 15 minutes on "high" (mixing every 5 minutes) until the onions start becoming translucent. If cooking on the stove top, add a little water and steam on medium heat (mixing every 5 minutes) until the onions start to become translucent (add a little water as needed to prevent sticking and burning).

While the vegetables are cooking, cook the pasta in a separate pot of water on the stove top until the penne is tender but still a little chewy.

At the same time prepare the sauce in a blender. Add the water, lemon juice, garlic, hot red pepper, oregano, and 3 tbsp. corn starch. Blend at high speed until smooth.

Slice the olives and set aside.

When the asparagus, carrots and onions are cooked, add the lemon sauce and olives and cook again until the sauce thickens. If the sauce is too "watery", add another tbsp. of corn starch dispersed in a little water and mix in. If necessary, heat again.

Add the cooked and drained pasta and the olive oil and mix thoroughly.

Serve and enjoy.

For our pasta recipes with photos, visit: 

For a photo and information about gobbetti pasta, visit:

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