Dishes with "primavera" in their names have nothing on this lovely springtime pasta.
6 ounces dried fettuccine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium tomato
3/4 cup loosely packed, jarred artichoke hearts (optional)
3 or 4 scallions
1 medium clove garlic
1 pound peeled and deveined jumbo raw shrimp (about 24 total)
1/2 cup dry white wine (may substitute chicken broth)
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the fettuccine; cook according to package directions (al dente). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot (off the heat); drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil.
2. Meanwhile, dice the tomato, discarding most of the seeds. Add to the pasta in the pot. If using the artichoke hearts, coarsely chop and add to the pot.
3. Trim scallions, then coarsely chop. Use a zester to zest the lemon. Mince the garlic.
4. Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in the scallions and garlic; cook for 2 minutes, until just soft. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute or until they start to turn opaque. Turn and cook until just opaque on the second side. Stir in the wine and the zest.
5. Whisk together the half-and-half and cornstarch until well blended, then pour into the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes to form a smooth, thickened sauce, stirring a bit. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the spinach and toss gently to incorporate. The spinach should wilt a little. Add the cheese, if using. For a saucier consistency, stir in some reserved pasta cooking water. Serve warm.