Edible Alphabet is a free English Language Learning (ELL) program offered by the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center. The mission is to teach English language and literacy skills through hands-on cooking projects. While Free Library locations remain closed to the public in the interest of public health and safety, we will be sharing weekly recipes from our class curriculum and past participants.
This week, as we enter the last days of spring, I’m making a classic Edible Alphabet recipe we’ve used in the program for the past 5 years: Pasta Primavera. This tasty pasta dish is full of spring vegetables and can be put together in under 30 minutes. As always, substitutions abound—I forgot to pick up arugula so I’m using spinach instead. Class participants often suggest adding grilled or broiled chicken for added protein. Once we enter into tomato season, I’ll sub out the grape tomatoes for 2 or 3 heirloom tomatoes from my backyard container garden, as long as the squirrels don’t get there first.
Speaking of gardening, the Free Library of Philadelphia has fantastic online resources for horticulturalists of every age and skill level. Check out our ebooks, digital magazines, and online courses on gardening—all available for free with your library card. If there’s still a wait to borrow Plants You Can’t Kill by Stacy Tornio, comment on this post and I’ll be sure to return it. Looking for more support in getting your garden started this spring? Visit the Cecil B Moore Library's Instagram account to view their video, Gardening Tutorial 1: How to Start Your Own Garden!
- 1 lb. farfalle pasta
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 pt. cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup basil leaves, torn
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup arugula
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Add water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Cut zucchini and squash into bite-sized pieces.
- Cut tomatoes in half.
- Cut garlic cloves into small pieces.
- Place ricotta cheese in a large bowl. Grate the lemon peel on top of the ricotta cheese. Cut basil leaves into thin strips and add to the bowl.
- When the water boils, add 1 Tbsp. salt and the pasta. Boil for 8 minutes, add peas, and then bring to a boil again. Drain after 2 minutes (when pasta is finished).
- While the pasta cooks, heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini and squash and cook until tender.
- Add garlic, tomatoes, arugula, salt, and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetables to the large bowl. Add the pasta and the peas to the bowl and stir with the other ingredients.
- Serve with grated parmesan cheese
For more information about Edible Alphabet and the Culinary Literacy Center, visit freelibrary.org/cook or email kitchen @ freelibrary.org. Enjoy this recipe? Leave a comment and stay tuned for another Edible Alphabet recipe next week!