Prime Spring Pasta
By Angela Denstad Stigeler
First, Spring! If you trace the Italian word for the season—primavera—back to its Latin roots, that’s the meaning you’ll find. And roots are shooting out all sorts of green these days. What better way to celebrate the verdant color of the season than a monochromatic meal where you can explore all its hues and flavors. From asparagus to zucchini, broccoli to peas, this meal’s got more than your average serving of green. Make it prime on your list of meals to enjoy this season.
Pasta Primavera Verde
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
½ bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
½ bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley and chives
9 ounces fresh linguini
½ cup toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Set a large pot of water on to boil. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus and ½ teaspoon of salt and sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant, about another minute. Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the linguini. Add the green beans in with the pasta during the last 4-5 minutes of cooking. If using fresh peas, add them, too.
When the vegetables are tender, turn the heat to low and make a well in the middle of the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter. Stir the cream and grated cheese into the melted butter until incorporated. Stir the vegetables into the sauce. Add the frozen peas, if using.
When ready, drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the vegetables in the skillet until well combined and the pasta is lightly coated with the cream sauce. Add in the reserved pasta cooking water a splash at a time if needed to thin the sauce. Off the heat, gently stir in the herbs, season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve immediately in warm soup plates and pass extra Parmesan at table.