Pasta Primavera is, if I may say so, an American dish with an Italian accent. The dish is quite young. It was invented in the U.S.A by an Italian chef in 1970th and gained immense popularity.
This pasta is so simple and good that I wonder why it was not known before. I bet that pasta with similar ingredients has been cooked in Italy, but why did no one give such a romantic name to a similar dish? Primavera in Italian means “spring”. The name speaks for itself, as spring and summer vegetables are used in this dish.
Sometimes, chicken or Italian sausages are added. But basically, hard vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, asparagus, zucchini, green peas, and green beans are the main toppings. Traditionally Pasta Primavera is prepared with olive oil and garlic sofrito. But you can also find this dish made with cream sauce.
As a general rule, all vegetables that are available in the season market plus some olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pasta, of course, – all these could go into a bowl. Oh, and, when chilled, this pasta could be served as a delicious salad – just add a splash of lemon juice and extra olive oil. It is very, very good.
- 1 package (1 lb) pasta (farfalle, campanelle, rotini / fusilli, penne)
- 1 small head broccoli (about 12 oz), cut into florets
- 2-3 medium carrots, chopped or julienned
- 1 – 1 ½ cup young green peas, frozen is fine
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 10-15 cherry tomatoes or assorted small tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters
- 4-6 cloves garlic, sliced
- ¼ – ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp pasta seasoning or Italian seasoning or ¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese or Parmesan flakes (or Pecorino Romano)
For sofrito: in a sauce pan heat the olive oil, add the garlic and cook for 20-30 seconds over medium heat. When the garlic begins to change its color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat. Stir in cherry tomatoes and pasta seasoning (or hot pepper flakes). Let sofrito stand so the flavors develop.
Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. In the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add the vegetables to the pasta. Save 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce. Drain the pasta with vegetables.
Add sofrito to the pasta.
Add the reserved water if needed.
Serve the pasta sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
Do not discard the broccoli stalks. They could be used for making soups or stocks.
Cook with pleasure and enjoy the world!