April, with its mix of showers and sunshine, is the ficklest month. The home cook’s challenge is to come up with different dishes as fast as the weather changes—sturdier ones for chilly nights and lighter fare for early springtime dinners. This collection of recipes—some inspired by Chinese, Mexican and Italian cuisine—offers you choices and also leaves you time to get outdoors and plant your garden. Be sure to take sunscreen and an umbrella.
SPRING VEGETABLE SOUP
Serves 4 (makes about 6 cups) 30 minutes or fewer
This main-course soup calls for a crusty baguette and a light white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups mushroom stock
2 cups sliced asparagus (about 3/4 lb.)
8 oz. baby summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup frozen peas
1 19-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté about 8 minutes, until golden. Add garlic; sauté about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
2. Add stock, asparagus and squash, and reduce heat to medium. Cook 4 minutes, stirring often, or until vegetables are slightly tender. Add peas and beans, and cook 3 to 4 minutes more, until heated through.
3. Stir in parsley, lemon juice and Parmesan; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve.
PER SERVING: 274 CAL; 12G PROT; 9G TOTAL FAT (1.5G SAT. FAT); 36G CARB; 2MG CHOL; 639MG SOD; 2G FIBER; 8G SUGARS