CLASSIC pasta spaghetti primavera








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There are a lot of "primavera" recipes. We have trouble with most of them as they seem to just throw some vegetables onto the spaghetti without worrying about blending.

Here is a recipe, adapted from an historic primavera recipe from the New York Times of 1977, that does blend. (For a complete story of this primavera, served at Le Cirque in New York, archive The New York Times Sunday Magazine of May 17, 2009).

for the sauce:

  • one bunch broccoli
  • two small zucchini, unpeeled
  • four asparagus spears
  • one cup fresh green beans
  • one-half cup fresh (or frozen) peas
  • one-half cup sugar snap peas
  • one tablespoon olive oil
  • one cup mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • three tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • two cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • four tablespoons olive oil
  • two tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • two tablespoons butter
  • two tablespoons chicken broth
  • one-quarter cup heavy cream
  • one half cup parmesan
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one-half cup cherry tomatoes, halved

for the pasta:

  • one pound spaghetti

Prepare the vegetables. Wash and then slice the ends of the zucchini. Cut into thin strips about one-inch in length.

Trim the broccoli and break it into its florets. Cut the asparagus into one-inch lengths. Trim the beans and cut them into one-inch lengths. De-string the sugar snaps and cut them in half.

Get a pot of water boiling and add salt. Using a large sieve, boil each of the vegetables separately until tender. Remove from boiling water and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Put all the vegetables in a bowl.

Cook the peas for the short time required to get them barely tender. Chill and add them to the bowl.

In a skillet, over medium heat, add the tablespoon of olive oil and then the mushrooms. Cook a few minutes until soft, and add them to the bowl.

In a saute pan large enough to hold the spaghetti and the vegetables, over medium heat, add the five tablespoons of olive oil and then the garlic and cook until it just starts to sizzle. Add the red pepper flakes, the parsley and the basil, a teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Cook for a minute. Add the cream and the chicken broth one-quarter cup of the parmesan and stir until well mixed and smooth

In five quarts of water at a raging boil, add two teaspoons of salt, and the spaghetti. Cook until al dente. Reserve one cup of the pasta liquid. Drain.

Add the spaghetti to the large saute pan and stir until the spaghetti is well coated. Add the remainder of the cheese and stir.

Then add the vegetable mixture and stir gently. Add the butter and stir again. If the mixture appears a little dry add some of the reserved pasta liquid.

Serve immediately. Top with the cherry tomato halves and perhaps a sprig of parsley.



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