We based this meal on a single ingredient — sugar snap peas. We had been to a local farmers’ market, where we purchased bright green, fresh, sugar snap peas, just waiting to add their spring-like taste to Pasta Primavera. Once we had the peas, we knew we’d be adding mushrooms, broccoli, and carrots — we had them sitting in the refrigerator — and of course freshly made pasta. Let’s see how it turned out.
To make this, we heavily modified a recipe from Whole, Larder, Love, by Rohan Anderson. And when we say we changed it, we really changed it. It was originally a recipe for Fettuccine Al Funghi Porcini, which sounded great, and the sauce would be close enough.
- 1 batch fresh pasta (you can use egg-less pasta, too), about 8 ounces, cooked al dente
- 8 ounces sugar snap peas
- 1 stalk broccoli
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced (1-2 cloves)
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1/4 cup half-and-half (or light cream)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese plus extra for garnish, grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pasta Primavera. The name means spring pasta. That means no frozen vegetables allowed. Period. Other than that, get some nice fresh peas, maybe some green beans, whatever appeals to you and makes you think of spring. If you have fresh herbs, use those, just double or triple the amount. Remember, Parmesan cheese does not come in a green cylinder. Finally, while the ingredients list looks long, this goes together quite quickly, so have everything ready.
Blanch and shock vegetables. Bring about 3 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the carrots, wait 30 seconds, add the broccoli, wait a minute, add the peas, and boil 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold running water to arrest the cooking. If you are using other vegetables, time putting them in the water so that they’ll all be cooked to roughly the same tenderness once drained. You’ll want them just a little crunchy, but not raw.
Sauté onions and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender and begins to brown. Reduce heat to medium low.
Add mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and cook to release the juices, about 3 minutes.
Add wine and herbs. Add the wine, sage, and thyme, and cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until much of the wine cooks off, and you start to get a nice sauce made of reduced wine and mushroom broth.
Add butter and vegetables. Stir in the butter and add the vegetables. Stir to coat and simmer until the vegetables are reheated through.
Add half-and-half and Parmesan. Pour in the half-and half, add the Parmesan, and cook until the cheese melts and makes a nice creamy sauce, about a minute.
Add pasta. Using tongs or a large fork, pull the pasta from the cooking water and add to the vegetables in the sauce. Stir to coat.
Adjust seasoning. Taste (that’s why you’re cooking, so you get the first bite) and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve. Once in the bowls, sprinkle Parmesan on top and wait for the rave reviews. We found that this had enough sauce that large bowls were called for. Oh, and, crusty bread for wiping up the sauce.
You might not think of sage as an herb that works in Pasta Primavera, but it does, especially with the mushrooms. It helps to bring out that autumnal woodsy flavor of the mushrooms, but doesn’t overwhelm the spring-like flavor of the fresh vegetables. We liked this so much that we nearly inhaled it. Our bowls were empty in under 5 minutes. It’s that good. Fives.