Sunday, April 21, 2024

Pasta Primavera

I've been meaning to post this recipe for weeks- and I managed to get to it before spring turns to summer. When I bought a bunch of asparagus a few weeks ago, I thought of using it in a classic Spring dish- pasta primavera. It sounds like an olde time Italian dish (primavera= spring), but was actually invented and popularized by an Italian chef in the 70s in the famed NYC restaurant Le Cirque. Whatever the origins, this is a pasta dish that absolutely celebrates springtime produce, featuring a colorful assortment of vegetables cooked until just tender and tossed with pasta in a light cream sauce.

I used this recipe as a starting point. The first time I made it, I chopped all the veggies and put them in a box in the fridge before work. The pasta came together very quickly in the evening, making it a nice weeknight dinner. Today, I made pasta primavera again for a brunch gathering, and my guests adored the flavorful sauce. This recipe is a keeper. I like a high ratio of veggies:pasta but that can be adjusted as desired. 

Pasta Primavera

  1. Cook 1/2 box of pasta until just tender (or even slightly undercooked). I used spaghetti the first time and farfalle (bowties) the second- any shape will do. Set cooked pasta aside. 
  2. Chop a bunch of veggies into bite sized pieces; can be mixed together-
    • 1 bunch asparagus
    • 1-2  cups broccoli florets
    • 1-2 cups green beans
    • 1 red/yellow/orange bell pepper
    • 1 carrot
    • 1 zucchini
  3. You also need 1/2 cup frozen green peas and 1 chopped tomato (or a handful of cherry tomatoes).
  4. Heat some olive oil/butter (or a mixture) in a large saute pan.
  5. Saute 2-3 cloves minced garlic, and the chopped veggies for a few minutes. 
  6. Stir in 1 cup vegetable stock and cook until the veggies are barely tender.
  7. Now add the frozen peas, tomato, and 1/2 cup cream. Bring to a simmer.
  8. Mix 1.5 tbsp cornstarch with 1-2 tbsp. water to make a slurry, and stir into the sauce to thicken it.
  9. Finally, stir in 1 tsbp. pesto, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, and the cooked pasta. Serve! 

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Some random pics from the last month-- we took a short spring break trip up to Vogel State Park in the North Georgia mountains. Our second trip there, and it was beautiful weather. The highlight for the kids was riding the Georgia mountain roller coaster, and the highlight for me was the short but steep hike up to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. It has a 360 degree observation tower and a gorgeous view all around. If you consider how high the highest points are in all 50 states plus DC, Georgia is smack dab in the middle at number 25. Our neighbors to the North, TN and NC, have taller peaks. Our neighbor to the South, FL, is number 51! 

We made a campfire and s'mores on the trip, of course, and then used leftover ingredients to make s'mores in the toaster oven at home using the broil function. 

Lake Trahlyta
Trahlyta Falls

Hiking up to Brasstown Bald, the
highest point in Georgia
S'mores in the toaster oven!

The herd of deer that live in
our backyard- I caught a family pic
one morning
Tulips in all their glory
in the nearby botanical garden

* * *

What I'm reading- a textbook, for a certification program I'm doing. But I also read a Maisie Dobbs mystery,  An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear, and it was a good one. 

The book pictured here, Conversations on Consciousness by Susan Blackmore, has been on my bedside table for a month and it is fascinating to read a few pages every night. Blackmore interviews 20+ scientists/philosophers, and this book has introduced me to some intriguing concepts and theories.  

My comfort TV these days: Brooklyn 99 on Netflix. A warmhearted and lovable sitcom. Enjoy the rest of the month!