If you're like many and overindulged over the long weekend in a few too many burgers, beers, and red, white, and blue desserts, you're probably in need of a few extra vegetables. Pasta primavera is a great dish that gets a ton of them in and is delicious to boot.
This recipe from Simply Recipes incorporates everything from peas to zucchini and asparagus. You can mix and match your favorites too -- I like to add mushrooms to the mix. It's not entirely healthy as it has some heavy cream and a bit of butter in there, but that just makes it extra delicious. It's a great summer weeknight dinner.
- 1 small bunch broccoli, about 1 heaping cup of florets
- 4 asparagus spears
- 1/2 cup snow peas
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 3 minced garlic cloves (I always use more)
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 3 Roma or other paste tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 pound angel hair pasta or spaghetti (I use whole wheat)
- 12 basil leaves, chopped
1. Get a large pot of water boiling. Salt it well. It should taste like the sea. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Boil the broccoli for 1 minute. Add the asparagus and boil another minute. Add the snow peas and boil for 30 more seconds. Remove all the vegetables and plunge them into the ice water. Once they’re cool, drain in a colander.
If you want, you can boil your pasta in the same pot you boiled the vegetables in, or you can start over and boil new water; I use the same water.
2. In a large sauté pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is hot, add the garlic and zucchini and sauté 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes and sauté another 2 minutes, stirring often.
3. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and turn the heat to high to bring it to a boil. Add the cream and toss in all the vegetables you boiled, plus the peas. Stir to combine. Turn the heat down until the cream-chicken broth mixture is just simmering, not boiling.
4. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine. If the sauce seems too thick -- it should be pretty thick, but not gloppy -- add some more chicken broth, cream, or water.
5. Boil the angel hair pasta. Note: If you are using spaghetti, you will want to start cooking it before you begin sautéing the garlic and zucchini. Angel hair will only need 1-2 minutes to cook, vermicelli or spaghetti can take 8-12 minutes.
As soon as the pasta is done, transfer it with tongs into the sauce and stir to combine. Add the basil now, and taste for salt. Add salt if needed. Grind some black pepper over everything and serve immediately.