At this time of year I get so anxious for spring to arrive. The first few weeks of April are a special kind of torture for New Englanders. One moment it’s 70° and sunny and I’m sure that it’s time to plant the tomatoes, and the next day I’m wearing three layers while trodding through the rain. Every year I find myself scrolling back through my Instagram feed trying to find the moment when spring arrived. When did the apple trees bloom? When did the crocuses pop? It had to be earlier last year, didn’t it?
Slowly but surely, it’s coming. We had a weekend with a hint of sunburn, a beer on the porch in the afternoon, and a promise of more warm days to come. The peas have sprouted and we check on them three times a day, the only denizens of our garden so far. The trees are in that tentative green stage, and I find myself looking up every 10 minutes, as if they may somehow magically burst into blossom over the course of an afternoon. But that’s how it feels when it finally happens, isn’t it? One morning the gray branches and bare against the spring blue sky, practically bursting with anticipation, and the next somehow everything is green and lush.
But all this is the essence of spring, is it not? The uncertainty, the anticipation, the oscillation between summer and winter. So, thank you, spring, for showing up. For teasing us with sunshine and letting us plunge our hands into the soil. For the first signs of green and even for the cool nip in the wind. I promise to enjoy every moment of you, the most fleeting of seasons. I’ll enjoy the rainy days with fat raindrops pounding against the roof. I’ll enjoy every blossom you toss our way – first, the purple and yellow crocus tips, then the showy magnolia blooms, the showers of pink apple blossoms and the regal irises.
Because every season needs at least one or two go-to pasta recipes, I’ve been developing spring pastas. I’m trying to build a collection for each season, like this Creamy Mushroom Pasta and this Heirloom Tomato Spaghetti. And now, my latest for spring – Goat Cheese Stuffed Shells with Spring Vegetables. They have all the usual spring suspects – peas, asparagus, goat cheese, lemon – tucked inside thick pasta shells. The filling also includes ricotta, mozzarella, and chopped spinach. So much cheese! So many vegetables! The finishing touch is a quick bechamel sauce and just a little bit more cheese before baking.