Pasta with Green Peas, Leeks, Arugula and Asparagus

If green garlic, garlic scapes or wild leeks are available, substitute them for the leeks. Artisan-made pasta, available at Italian shops or upmarket grocers, is much tastier and comes in more interesting shapes, which are perfect for this elegant dish. Parmesan gives a more subtle finish to the dish but the ricotta salata is earthier. Your choice.


  • 12 ounces (350 grams) short pasta such as orecchiette, penne or casarecce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ pounds (375 grams) asparagus, cut in 1-inch lengths
  • 2 leeks, white part only, sliced
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shaved ricotta salata or parmesan


Cook pasta according to package directions and drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add asparagus and sauté for 2 minutes. Add leeks and continue to sauté until leeks are softened and asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes. Add peas and cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in pasta and toss in arugula and enough cooking water to loosen slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. As soon as arugula wilts, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve topped with shaved ricotta salata at once. Serves 4.