Pasta Primavera is a classic Italian dish. There are many versions, but ours is closer to the original than others. Some use a vinaigrette as the sauce, but the original is made with a cream-based sauce like our recipe. We added a few extra twists for extra flavor, like lemon zest in the sauce and our Italian Seasoning added to the vegetables and sauce to also bring out a more savory flavor. The combination of vegetables is a medley of flavors, textures and colors. The result is as good as it gets.
1 Medium Yellow Summer Squash, Quartered Lengthwise, and Sliced into 1/4″ Thick Slices
1 Medium Zucchini, Quartered Lengthwise, and Sliced into 1/4″ Thick Slices
1 ½ Cups Frozen Petite Peas, (They will thaw while prepping the other vegetables)
½ Pound Broccoli Florets
1 Medium Red Bell Pepper Sliced into Strips
8 Asparagus Spears, Fibrous Ends Cut Off, Cut into Thirds
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
8 Oz Button Mushrooms, Stems Cut off and Caps Quartered
¼ Cup Pine Nuts
4 Roma Tomatoes, Quartered, Seeded and Coarsely Chopped
2 Tablespoons plus 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 Lb. Linguine or Spaghetti Pasta
3 Cups Heavy Cream
¼ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Zest of 1 Lemon
¼ Cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
4 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
¼ Cup Fresh Basil Leaves Shredded, or Flat Italian Parsley Rough Chopped
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Put squash and zucchini into a sieve, blanch for 30 seconds. Remove sieve and transfer to a large bowl of ice water to stop further cooking. Gently shake sieve to remove excess water. Transfer vegetables to a small bowl, and set aside until needed. Blanch and cool the peas, broccoli, and asparagus, in that order. Also set them aside in separate bowls.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute squash, zucchini and broccoli about 3 to 4 minutes until they start to brown. Add the peas, one-third of the garlic, 1 tablespoon of the Italian Seasoning and 1 teaspoon salt. Saute for 1 minute, then transfer to a medium bowl, cover with foil to keep warm and set aside. Wipe skillet clean with paper towel.
Heat another 2 tablespoons of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the mushrooms and red bell pepper about 3 to 4 minutes until mushrooms are golden brown. Add pine nuts and saute 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown. Add half the garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Saute for 30 seconds then transfer to a small bowl. Cover with foil and set aside. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Saute asparagus about 1 minute until it starts to brown a bit. Transfer to a small bowl and cover with foil. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil, tomatoes, remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon of the Italian Seasoning and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until tomatoes start to break down and release their juice. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with foil and set aside.
Cook pasta according to directions of the package in a large pot of boiling water over high heat until al dente. While cooking the pasta, pour 2 ½ cups of the heavy cream in the skillet. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of the Italian Seasoning and the lemon zest. Heat over medium-high heat for about 5 to 6 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in Parmesan cheese and salt to taste. Drain pasta and add it to the skillet with the cream sauce. Stir frequently for 2 to 3 minutes until the pasta absorbs the sauce. Add the remaining ½ cup cream, the ¼ cup stock and butter. Stir constantly for about 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Plate the Pasta Primavera by placing the pasta equally among 4 bowls. Top the pasta with equal amounts of the vegetable mixtures in the following order: Squash-zucchini-broccoli mixture, mushroom mixture, tomato sauce, then asparagus. Garnish with basil or parsley.