The weather was absolutely perfect in Upstate New York this past weekend. Partly cloudy, low 70s and a gentle breeze. Beautiful. This kind of weather makes me crave all the springtime flavors. There are a lot that come to mind; however, one that stood out to me on this particular spring day was pasta primavera. Because well, it involves pasta. And because, thanks to a ratatouille recipe testing that went slightly south, I had a lot of leftover vegetables I needed to use up.
I love pasta primavera because it is easy to make, has a bright flavor and is loaded with a beautiful rainbow of fresh vegetables. It is vegetarian and can easily be made vegan and gluten free. Also, you can use whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand.
The first step in the recipe is to prep all the vegetables. It does take a bit of time, but prepping the vegetables first will make the rest of recipe go quickly and smoothly. You can cut the vegetables however big or small you like. My only recommendation is to make them around the same size. I like to cut my vegetables to about the length of pasta I am using, so I have a uniform dish that is easier to eat.
After the vegetable prep is done, cook the pasta according to package instructions. I recommend a short pasta, such as penne or rotini. Regular or gluten free pasta both work well. I used Banza’s chickpea rotini and penne, because that is what I had on hand. Be sure to reserve some pasta cooking liquid for later.
While the pasta is cooking, heat good quality olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the carrots. Carrots take the longest to cook, so you want to start those first. Let them cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the vegetables and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine, cover and allow vegetables to steam for 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender but still have a slight bite.
Add in cooked pasta, lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and fresh basil. Toss everything together so the pasta and vegetables are coated in sauce. Add pasta cooking liquid a little at a time to loosen the sauce, if needed.
- Gluten free: Use your favorite gluten free pasta in place of regular pasta.
- Vegan: Replace the butter with an equal amount of olive oil.
- Vegetables: Sub or add asparagus, cherry tomatoes, peas or sugar snap peas.
- Protein: Add grilled or baked chicken for a heartier dish.
- Seasoning: Fresh parsley is a great addition. If you do not have fresh herbs, 1 tsp of dried basil/parsley work as well.
- White Wine: If you prefer not to cook with wine, sub with chicken or vegetable stock instead.
Pasta PrimaveraBeautiful and bright springtime pasta dish loaded with seasonal vegetablesServings: 4
- 12 oz pasta
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 medium red onion sliced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 small zucchini cut into coins
- 1 small yellow squash cut into coins
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup eggplant cubed
- 1 bell pepper cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves chopped
- 3 tbsp butter or ghee
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and garlic and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add white wine, cover pot and steam vegetables for 5 minutes, or until tender with a slight bite.
- Add cooked pasta, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, Italian seasoning, fresh basil, salt and pepper. Toss together so pasta and vegetables are coated in sauce. Add pasta cooking liquid, a little at a time to loosen sauce, if needed.