The weather is getting warmer here in Central Texas, and it’s finally feeling like spring is here. This time of year always feels like a time of renewal in the world of food, with fresh fruits, baby vegetables, and grains becoming abundant again after the cold winter months.
As a celebration of spring, we’ve taken some time to put together a list of some of the most fresh, healthy, and colorful Italian recipes that focus on the use of spring ingredients. Give your new year’s resolution to eat healthier a second wind and try out some of these colorful takes on classic dishes!
1. Quinoa Pilaf with Spring Vegetables
Dish type: Side
Used widely in dishes throughout northern Italy, quinoa is a grain with a unique texture used here as the base for a pilaf in the place of rice. Combined with chicken and the vegetable medley blend of baby golden beets, red and orange bell pepers, asparagus, baby zucchini, and green onions, this side is as beautifully colorful as it is tasty. Top it off with olive oil and some lime wedges.
Frittata with Spring Peas
Dish type: Main Course
This is a nutritious take on the frittata, a classic recipe showcasing the Italian sensibilities of using simple ingredients in elegant ways. Eggs and cheese combine in this half-fried, half-baked classic, to which leek stalk, blanched peas, mint, and ricotta cheese are added. The added veggies make this frittata a great sourse of fiber, omega-3s, and vitamines.
Braised Lamb Shamks with Mint Gremolata
Dish type: Main Course
A take on the Milanese veal shank preparation called Ossobuco, this recipe combines that traditional vegetable-braised, wine-soaked cut of veal and combines it with an interesting take on a gremolata. Normally made with parsley, the gremolata here substitutes that herb for mint, a classic pairing for lamb. Combine that with the spring vegetable mix of baby red potatoes, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and fresh pea tendrils and you have a delicious, well-rounded meal.
Italian Strawberry Tart
Dish Type: Dessert
Inspired by the more traditional Italian plum tarts, this recipe adds a bit of spring seasonal flare by using strawberries instead of plums. Using a thick batter, these tarts are built from a versatile cake base that uses very simple ingredients to allow the highlighted ingredient—in this case, the strawberry—to shine through. Serve garnished with additional strawberries.
We hope this spring Italian recipe teaser has piqued your interest in some seasonal takes on classic Italian cuisine! Taking some tradtional recipes and adding the flavors of spring can make for some unique and fresh combinations. And while these vegetables are in season here in San Marcos, TX, come stop by Italian Garden to try some of our dishes that include seasonal fruits and veggies to get a taste of these flavors for yourself!