Pasta Primavera is a pasta dish that originated as a way to celebrate the earliest spring vegetables. In fact “Primavera” means springtime in Italian. You can choose whatever combination of vegetables that you like. I used asparagus, broccolini, cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, orange bell pepper and ramps. Snow peas, fava beans, fresh peas and carrots are also great additions to Pasta Primavera. (I couldn’t find fresh peas so I substituted shelled edamame).
This dish is often prepared with a rich creamy sauce, but I prefer to make it with a bright citrusy lemon butter sauce. Any shape of pasta works too!
(you can substitute any spring vegetables)
(makes 3 – 4 servings)
a big handful of asparagus spears / 5 – 10 depending on the size (cut into pieces)
1 small yellow squash (cut into pieces)
1/2 of a bell pepper (cut into pieces)
2 cups of broccolini (cut into pieces using some of the leaves as well)
5-6 ramps or spring onions (cut into pieces)
1 – 2 cups of fresh peas, snow peas or edamame
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves (torn into pieces)
1/4 cup of fresh Italian parsley (coarsely chopped)
3/4 to 1 lb. of pasta (depending if you want more pasta, or more veggies)
For the Sauce:
1 – 2 cloves of garlic mashed or minced
3 Tb. of butter
2 TB. of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 lemon (grate the rind and use the juice too)
4 oz. of cream fraiche
(pasta water to add moisture, as needed)
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup of grated parmesan
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
First cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces to prepare them for cooking. I like to blanch them in a pot of boiling water and then immediately put them in an ice bath to retain their color and a bit of crispness. You can also lightly saute them. Always do one vegetable at a time because carrots, for instance, take a little longer to cook than squash. (you can cook all of the vegetables this way, but if you use cherry tomatoes, wait until you make the sauce to lightly cook them.) After cooking all of the vegetables, set them aside as you cook the pasta and prepare the sauce.
Next cook the pasta according to the directions for “al dente”. Set aside, reserving a cup of the water used to cook it in.
In a skillet, add the garlic, butter and olive oil and lightly cook the garlic until soft. Add the grated lemon rind and the lemon juice. Stir in the vegetables to warm them up lightly and coat with the sauce.
Add the blanched vegetables to the skillet and stir in the tomatoes to lightly cook them. Next pour this vegetable and sauce mixture into a large bowl lightly stir in the pasta. Return to a very large skillet and add the creme fraiche and fresh herbs to the pan. Add some of the pasta water and stir together well. Cook until heated through.
Using tongs, divide into your pasta bowls. Top each with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of parmesan, some extra herbs, a few grinds of pepper and the toasted pine nuts.
Pass the parmesan and Enjoy!