Creamy Pasta Primavera
Serves 4 to 6
A classic pasta primavera is made with spring vegetables. This recipe, which came from my mother, adds some summer vegetables, as well as cream for a more luxurious sauce. You can use whatever vegetables are available or desired and the recipe can be made in any amount needed.
- 1 pound pasta, such as fettuccine or spaghetti
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 2-1/2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, chopped into about 1-1/2 inch pieces
- 1 small yellow squash, sliced
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 pound mushrooms, quartered
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Blanch the carrots, broccoli, asparagus, squash and zucchini in lightly salted water until tender. Start with the carrots, broccoli and asparagus. Add the squash and zucchini after about 5 minutes and cook an additional 2 minutes. Do not overcook! Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add the butter and blanched vegetables and cook until heated. Reduce the heat to medium; add the cream, butter, basil, chives and additional salt and pepper. Cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the peas.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain , reserving a little of the cooking water, and add to the sauce. Toss well to combine, adding reserved water as needed to bring it all together. Serve immediately, passing the cheese separately.
Notes: If desired, the vegetables can be blanched by adding them for the appropriate amount of time to the pasta while it is cooking. Drain with the pasta and add to the sauce.