It's almost spring! Well, at least somewhere, and it's time for some fresh, nice Italian recipes. Pasta Primavera, or Spring Pasta, it’s a healthy, simple pasta recipe with a great taste. The following recipe can be varied according to your taste: you can add more fresh vegetables, like yellow or red bell peppers, squash, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli florets, etc., and if you are vegetarian or vegan, skip the heavy cream and the pancetta altogether, add an extra dash of olive oil while sautéing the veggies and enjoy the simple and wonderful flavor. Happy Spring everybody!
Ingredients and Instructions (4-5 servings)
1 medium white onion
1 celery stalk
½ cup green peas
fresh herbs, like basil, sage or thyme
½ cup of heavy cream
1 pound of penne pasta or farfalle, fusilli, etc.
grated Parmigiano cheese
salt and pepper
3/4 cup of diced pancetta or prosciutto
1. Pasta needs to cook in abundant salted water. Start placing a 6 – 8 quarter pot of water on the fire and bring it to a boil while preparing the rest. The salt, about 1 and ½ tablespoons, should be added when the water is boiling and before to add the pasta.
2. Prepare a mix of chopped vegetables: wash, peel and finely chop the carrot, the onion, the celery and the zucchini and any other vegetables you want to use. Chop the fresh herbs and set aside - using fresh mix herbs will add amazing flavor to the recipe, but if you really can’t find them fresh, go ahead and use them dry.
3. Sauté the veggie and herbs mix over medium fire in a large saucepan with 2 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let them sauté for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the diced pancetta or prosciutto at this point, and let sauté a bit more, until the fat has changed color. Add the peas and let cook for another 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the heavy cream, stir all the ingredients together, let simmer for another couple of minutes adding a spoonful or two of the pasta water if the sauce gets too thick. At this point taste, correct salt and pepper as needed, turn off the fire and let rest while cooking the pasta.
6. Now the water should be boiling, add the salt, stir, then the pasta and stir again. Any pasta can be used for this recipe, but I don’t recommend particularly spaghetti or linguine which tend to stick when the cream of the sauce starts cooling down in the dish. Cook it al dente! Taste it one minute before the package recommended cooking time is over. Reserve just a bit of the cooking water, drain and add immediately to the pan with the veggie sauce. Mix well and, as needed, add the reserved cooking water one tablespoon at the time to make sure the sauce is not too thick and sticky.
7. Serve right away, topping each dish with some Parmigiano cheese.
Buon Appetito e Buona Primavera!