Primavera Pasta | News, Sports, Jobs
It’s June. Spring slowly becomes summer. You are busy with finishing school, gardening and yard work.
Gardeners and farmers harvest asparagus, fresh greens, radishes, green onions, baby carrots and peas. All of this goes great with pasta for quick weeknight dinners.
“Primavera” is the Italian word for spring, but pasta primavera originated in the United States of America in the 1970s. The sauce can be creamy, made up of half and half or fresh cream, butter and Parmesan or Romano cheese. A lighter sauce can be made with wine or broth, olive oil and fresh lemon.
A simple dish of vegetables and fresh spring noodles, pasta primavera is easy to make with whatever veggies you have on hand. This tasty, visually appealing and satisfying dish is a great way to add more vegetables to your diet.
Use whatever pasta you like. Farfalle – which means butterflies in Italian – is suitable for the spring garden. Small seashells – orecchiette, or “little ears” in Italian – also fit the summer theme. Large, thick pastas like penne or ziti also work.
Asparagus has been known around the Mediterranean for millennia. It was cultivated by the Egyptians as an offering to the gods and enjoyed by Roman emperors like Julius Caesar. It contains more folic acid than any other vegetable and is a good source of nutrients like potassium, thiamin, vitamins A, C and B6 and a powerful antioxidant, glutathione.
Radishes are native to Asia. They have been cultivated in the East and Central Asia for thousands of years. They were popular in Egypt and the ancient Greeks made gold replicas of the radish for use in the worship of Apollo. A cruciferous vegetable, they have anticancer properties, are rich in vitamin C and fibre, and contain iron and iodine.
Green vegetables (like spinach, turnip greens, radish tops) are superfoods containing many phytonutrients that reduce cancer risk, improve cardiovascular health and boost immunity. Most green vegetables are high in lutein, which helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and can keep your heart healthy by preventing cholesterol from sticking to blood vessel walls. They are good sources of fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and copper, and vitamins A and C.
Primavera Asparagus Pasta
1/2 cup dried white beans (or 1 can)
1 cup (about 4 ounces) thick pasta such as ziti or penne
2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil
1 small or medium onion
1 small or medium carrot
4 oz. baby portobello mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
1/2 pound (1/2 bunch) asparagus
2 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Prepare the beans – soak overnight, drain and cook until tender. Drain and reserve.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 teaspoon of salt and cook the pasta according to package directions.
Prepare the vegetables: peel and slice the onion; wash and dice the carrot; clean and cut the mushrooms; peel and mince the garlic.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the prepared onion, carrot, mushrooms and garlic. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Prepare the asparagus. Trim the ends, rinse and cut into 1 inch lengths. Add to the pan with about a half cup or more of the pasta cooking water. Cover and cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the cooked beans, pecorino-romano and feta. Bake until the cheese melts.
Stir in cooked pasta and chopped fresh parsley and cook for 1 minute. Remove from fire. Add lemon zest and juice (strain out seeds); stir; taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Dilute with a little more pasta water if necessary.
Primavera turnip and radish pasta
1 cup pasta of your choice
1 teaspoon of salt
1 bunch of radishes, with greens
1 bunch Hokkaido turnips, with greens
2 green onions
1 tablespoon of butter
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup white wine, optional
1/4 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 cup pasta cooking water
1/3 cup sour cream (you can substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream)
1 tablespoon of flour
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
Feta cheese, to garnish
Put a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain.
In a small saucepan, cook the hard-boiled eggs. Run under cold water, peel and set aside.
Remove the roots from turnips and radishes. Cut off the tops and roughly chop. Wash by placing in a large saucepan and fill with water; scoop the greens on top.
Cut turnips and radishes into quarters or eighths.
Remove the root ends and wilted vegetables from the green onions. Wash and slice.
Heat a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add turnips, radishes and green onions. Sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or a little longer. Add washed and chopped greens and stalks. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine, broth and pasta water. Simmer until everything is tender, about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the cream and flour. Add some of the liquid from the cooking vegetables; stir to combine.
Stir 1 tablespoon grated parmesan and cooked, hot, drained pasta into the vegetables. Then add the sauce and cook for 1 minute until the sauce thickens.
Top with chopped hard-cooked eggs and crumbled feta, if desired.
Option: Add 1 1/2 cups (1 can) of cooked chickpeas with the parmesan. Omit the eggs.
Author of award-winning cookbook “Garden Gourmet: Fresh, Fabulous Meals From Your Garden, CSA, or Farmer’s Market,” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: cooking and writing. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at [email protected] or on Facebook at Words Are My World.