Pasta Primavera 


(“Pasta con Verdure” – “Pasta ca Virdura”)

 

Pasta Primavera is not an exclusive Sicilian dish, in fact, with some variations, this recipe is done all over Italy. It used to be called Pasta con Verdure Assortite, Pasta with Assorted Vegetables, but Primavera sounded better on the restaurants menus.
It can be made with few vegetables and ingredients and easily prepared in a short time or made with a large variety of vegetables depending on the season and on the individual taste.
I have two versions of the Pasta Primavera: one I cooked at Joe’s of Avenue U, using spaghetti and one version using bowtieor ditali pasta. This was the way my aunt Ciccina used to make it and she called it Minestra con Verdure di Stagione, Soup with Vegetables in Season. To make this soupy primavera, reserve 2 or 3 cups of the reserved water and add at the end of the assembly. 

The most important ingredient in this recipe is the freshness of the ingredients and with the exception of the peas that I used frozen, I always utilize very fresh vegetables and a light olive oil to sauté the vegetables in it. 
Serve it hot, and set on the side grated Parmesan cheese and hot red peppers.

 

Serves 4 to 6

 

              PeasZucchine & TomatoesArtichokes

                                             

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. bowtie pasta, spaghetti or ditali
  • 2 zucchini, select small zucchini, cut into ¼ of inch strips, cut strips into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, trimmed and cut into little florets
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut like shoestring potatoes (matchstick-wide), or thinly sliced
  • any of your preferred vegetables available in season
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 oz. butter
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup of chopped parsley
  • ½ cup of Parmesan cheese (Optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive for drizzling                                   

                                       

                                    Bowtie Primavera

 

Preparation

The Vegetables
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil.
Plunge zucchini in boiling water for 2 minutes. Set aside in cold water.
In the same boiling water, blanch peas and broccoli separately for 4 minutes, set aside in cold water.
Follow the same process for the cauliflower florets and any other vegetables you add (ex. string beans, asparagus, etc.). Do not blanch the mushrooms.
Blanch carrots last.

The Sauce
Using a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of oil or the oil and butter combination, and sauté onions until translucent. Add sliced garlic and the mushrooms and after 2 minutes add the remaining vegetables.
Add salt and pepper to taste and half of the parsley. Remove skillet from heat.

The Pasta
In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt; cook the pasta al dente, about 2 minutes less than manufacturer’s recommended time. 
When pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of pasta’s water, drain pasta and put it back in the same pot.

The Assembly
Keeping on a low flame, turn the pasta gently and fold in half of the vegetables, the remaining parsley and some Parmesan cheese. If you feel that the pasta is too dry, add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water, as needed.
Serve immediately in warm pasta bowls, garnish with remaining vegetables, sprinkle some parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

Note:  In most restaurants, it is fashionable to add heavy cream to the Pasta Primavera.