Spring ushers in lighter fare and the delicate flavors of tender new vegetables. In no other season does asparagus taste so wonderful. Pasta always has its place, but now it combines brilliantly with asparagus for an unusual warm salad. The complex taste of Italian balsamic vinegar enhances and heightens the distinctive flavor of asparagus and provides a counterpoint in sharpness to the round-flavored mushroom-cream sauce for the veal chops.
Veal, considered a luxury, is comparable in price to spring’s other special foods: salmon and lamb. Though the bone in the chop could be removed to make a neat round, or noisette, of veal, leaving it in gives the meat and sauce more flavor.
For dessert, rhubarb and berries accented with ginger in a speedy sorbet leave an intriguing impression of cool and subtle fruit flavors. And the full character of the prizewinning Chardonnay from Lubbock’s Pheasant Ridge Winery is the perfect match for this elegant spring dinner.
Plan of attack: Put water on to boil for rhubarb and pasta. Make dessert and freeze. Start veal dish. Cook pasta, then cook the asparagus while veal is simmering. Reduce sauce to finish veal dish. Finish pasta salad.