Pasta Primavera

This pasta primavera recipe is bursting with fresh veggies and a creamy Parmesan sauce! It’s a veggie-packed dinner that pleases…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This pasta primavera recipe is bursting with fresh veggies and a creamy Parmesan sauce! It’s a veggie-packed dinner that pleases everyone.

Pasta Primavera

Looking for a vegetarian pasta to impress? Try Pasta Primavera, the Italian-sounding American dish from the 1970’s that’s here to liven up your mealtimes! There are many ways to make a primavera, so here’s our spin. Tender pasta is mixed with spring vegetables like asparagus, broccolini, peas and carrots, then tossed with a creamy, luxurious Parmesan sauce. You won’t want the bowl to end!

The story behind pasta primavera

Pasta Primavera is an American pasta dish featuring fresh vegetables invented in the 1970’s. The dish was created by a New York chef named Sirio Maccioni at the home of an Italian businessman in Nova Scotia of all places. The dish mixed butter, cream, cheese, pasta and fresh vegetables, and went on to become popular all over the world. While it doesn’t sound like a revolutionary combination to our modern ears, it was the first of its kind.

Pasta Primavera

What’s in this pasta primavera recipe?

Since then, Pasta Primavera has popped up on restaurant menus across the globe, popularly at Italian American chains like Olive Garden. There’s really no “correct” way to make this dish: no specifications on the exact sauce or the type of vegetables. Primavera means spring in Italian, so often you’ll see it with spring vegetables like asparagus and carrot. But just as many spins use summer vegetables like zucchini and tomatoes: so there’s a lot of variation!

In our opinion, a good Pasta Primavera should feature spring vegetables just like the title indicates, so that’s what we’ve used here. The veggies are accessorized with a creamy Parmesan sauce that makes everything taste irresistible. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Pasta: any shape! we like tortelli (shown), but any short or long shape works
  • Olive oil
  • Baby bella mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Leek: leek is a uniquely tasty spring vegetable; substitute shallot if you can’t find it
  • Broccolini: we love the elegant shape of broccolini here! You can substitute broccoli
  • Peas
  • Carrot
  • For the sauce: butter, garlic, flour, milk and Parmesan cheese

The basic idea? Cook the pasta, saute the veggies, make a quick cream sauce and mix it all together. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Tips for cooking pasta to al dente

When it comes to any pasta dish, here’s the key: cook the pasta to the perfect al dente. Al dente means “to the bite” in Italian: pasta that’s tender with a firm center. Overcooked pasta turns out rubbery and unappetizing. Interestingly, it also has less nutrients and makes you less full. Here are some tips on how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Set your timer a few minutes before the package instructions indicate. The timing on many pasta packages makes for overcooked pasta. Start taste testing the pasta a few minutes before the package says to.
  • Taste test and look for small white fleck at the core. You want to catch it right when there’s a small white fleck at the core, or just when it disappears.
Pasta Primavera

Making the pasta primavera sauce

A few tips on the pasta primavera sauce: the sauce is a quick Parmesan sauce made with a roux. A “roux” is flour and butter cooked together (usually equal parts) that’s sed to thicken sauces. The cooking does go quickly, so you’ll want to understand the basic idea before you start.

  • Measure out the ingredients first, and don’t leave the stove. The cooking process goes so fast, you’ll want to have everything measured in advance.
  • Melt butter and saute the grated garlic 30 seconds. Be careful not to overcook: you don’t want it to brown!
  • Add flour and whisk constantly. Whisk constantly and cook just until it’s a golden color; be careful not to overcook.
  • Whisk in the milk gradually. Add a splash of milk and whisk constantly, then keep adding a few splashes at a time until the sauce is smooth. Simmer for several minutes, and the roux will thicken the sauce! It may feel like it won’t thicken, but just wait: it will come together in about 5 minutes.

Serving pasta primavera

This pasta primavera recipe takes a little over 30 minutes to make, but it’s pretty hands on: you don’t have a lot of waiting time to prep other items. So to make it into a meal, you’ll want some quick and simple sides. You can also add cooked protein to make the dish more filling. Here are a few ideas:

Pasta Primavera

More pasta recipes

Love pasta at mealtime? Here are a few that will make dinnertime delicious:

This pasta primavera recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan and plant-based, substitute 1 ½ cups Vegan Alfredo Sauce for the sauce ingredients. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

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Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

This pasta primavera recipe is bursting with fresh veggies and a creamy Parmesan sauce! It’s a veggie-packed dinner that pleases everyone.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces pasta (tortelli is shown)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus, tough ends removed, sliced in half and cut into small pieces
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced into half moons and washed (or 1 large shallot, thinly sliced)
  • 1 bunch broccolini (or 1 crown broccoli), cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed under warm water
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 small garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups 2% milk
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente (taste testing a minute or two before the package instructions indicate). Drain and toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the vegetables as noted above. In a dutch oven or large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook mushrooms for 4 minutes, until starting to brown. Add asparagus, leeks, broccolini, carrots and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and cook additional 4 to 5 minutes until asparagus is tender and bright green. Add peas and continue cooking until peas are bright green, about 1 minute.
  3. In a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the grated garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant but not browned. Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute to 90 seconds, until bubbly and golden. Add a splash of milk and whisk it in: the sauce will instantly turn chunky. Constantly whisking, continue to add splashes of milk and whisk them in until the entire quantity is incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Reduce the heat and whisk until the sauce thickens and no longer tastes like raw flour, about 5 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon kosher salt and the Parmesan cheese.
  4. Drain the pasta, then add it to the skillet with the veggies and stir in the sauce. Taste and add the additional ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Serve warm, garnished with additional Parmesan cheese. Leftovers store well refrigerated.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Pasta primavera, pasta primavera recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Vegan Pasta Primavera with Roasted Veggies

What’s that? You’re craving pasta but also want some veggies and protein? Well, you’ve made it to the right recipe. This easy Vegan Pasta Primavera has all the comforting goodness you love about pasta, plus plenty of versatile veggies and protein-packe…

Vegan Pasta Primavera with Roasted Veggies

What’s that? You’re craving pasta but also want some veggies and protein? Well, you’ve made it to the right recipe. This easy Vegan Pasta Primavera has all the comforting goodness you love about pasta, plus plenty of versatile veggies and protein-packed chickpeas! 

It’s simple, savory, optionally gluten-free, and a delicious way to use up any veggies you have lingering around (who, us?). With just 10 ingredients required, we can’t wait for you to give it a try.

Vegan Pasta Primavera with Roasted Veggies from Minimalist Baker →

Asparagus Pasta with Lemon

Celebrate the season with asparagus pasta! Lemony roasted asparagus pairs with fresh basil and Parmesan for an irresistible dinner recipe.…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Celebrate the season with asparagus pasta! Lemony roasted asparagus pairs with fresh basil and Parmesan for an irresistible dinner recipe.

Asparagus Pasta

Once the first few warm days of spring hit, we start craving all the green vegetables. Here’s a great way to use those popular bright green spears: Asparagus Pasta with Lemon & Parmesan! This one pairs chewy tagliatelle noodles with lemony roasted asparagus, garlic, and Parmesan. Topped seasoned breadcrumbs and peppery basil leaves, the combination of flavors is unbelievably fresh and savory. This one disappeared very quickly over here: and we hope you love it just as much!

Ingredients in this asparagus pasta recipe

This asparagus pasta uses bold flavors to achieve a restaurant-style quality pasta recipe! There are a few secret ingredients that take the flavor up a few notches. The basic idea? Roast asparagus and lemon wedges, then toss with pasta and a garlic olive oil mixture. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tagliatelle or fettucine pasta: any wide, flat noodle works well here. Tagliatelle is very wide and has a pleasant, chewy texture. You can also make it with bucatini (hollow spaghetti) or spaghetti if you prefer.
  • Asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Dried oregano
  • Calabrian chilis or red pepper flakes: these add a hint of complexity without making for a spicy dish
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Italian panko: this is seasoned chunky breadcrumbs: see the notes below!
  • Basil leaves: basil adds a lovely fresh, peppery flavor to the dish
  • Salt and pepper
Asparagus Pasta

Tips for roasting asparagus and lemon

The star of this pasta is the lemon asparagus, roasted until tender in a hot oven! We like roasting asparagus because it gets incredibly tender and the flavor mellows quite a bit, versus sauteed asparagus can still be a bit crisp tender. Here are our tips for roasting asparagus:

  • Find thin asparagus if you can. Thinner asparagus is more tender and milder in flavor! Of course, it’s not always possible to find thin spears, so you can work with what’s at the store.
  • Chop off the very thick parts. Any part that’s closer to white than green: chop right off! We like to cut off anything that’s very thick because it can have a tough texture.
  • Roast the asparagus with lemon wedges right on the pan. It’s the best way to infuse that lemon flavor through the entire veggie! You’ll also add lemon zest and mix throughout.
Pasta with asparagus

Add Italian panko for a crunch

Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb mixture that is airier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. Here it adds just the right crunch in texture to this asparagus pasta. We love using Italian panko because it has extra seasonings added: they add that extra oomph! You can also use them instead of croutons on a salad (like in this Romaine Salad or Butter Lettuce Salad).

  • “Italian” means herbs and salt are added. You should be able to find Italian panko or panko easily at your local grocery store.
  • Only have plain panko? Use that and just add a bit more salt. If you’d like, you can mix with a bit of dried oregano or basil.
  • What about for gluten-free? If you’re making this with gluten-free pasta, you can also find gluten-free panko at stores or online.

Ways to serve asparagus pasta

The most important thing about serving this asparagus pasta? Pair it with a protein! It’s not loaded with protein, so you’ll want to add in a vegetarian, fish or meat protein of choice when serving. Here are a few ideas:

Lemon asparagus pasta recipe

More asparagus recipes

‘Tis the season! Load up on recipes starring the green spears while it abounds in grocery stores. Here are a few more asparagus recipes to try:

This lemon asparagus pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and panko.

Print
Asparagus Pasta

Asparagus Pasta with Lemon


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4

Description

Celebrate the season with asparagus pasta! Lemony roasted asparagus pairs with fresh basil and Parmesan for an irresistible dinner recipe.


Ingredients

For the asparagus

  • 1 pound thin asparagus spears, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon (zest from half, plus slices from the other half)

For the pasta

  • 8 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon chopped Calabrian chilis or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup Parmesan shavings
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoned panko
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roast the asparagus: Cut off the tough bottom ends of the asparagus and cut it into 2” pieces. Add the stalks to a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the asparagus with the olive oil, and add the kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  3. Slice the lemon in half crosswise. Thinly slice 4 wheels from one half of the lemon, then add them to the baking sheet. Zest the other half of the lemon, sprinkle it onto the asparagus and mix with your hands to coat. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until tender when pierced by a fork at the thickest part. The timing will depend on the thickness of the asparagus spears.
  4. Cook the pasta: Meanwhile, bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente (taste testing a minute or two before the package instructions indicate). Do not drain. 
  5. In the serving bowl, stir together the olive oil, oregano, grated garlic and chilis. When the pasta is done, use tongs to transfer the pasta from the boiling water into the bowl with the oil mixture without draining. Toss with the olive oil mixture until coated. Add the roasted asparagus and toss. (If desired, transfer to a serving platter or individual plates.)
  6. Top with the Parmesan shavings and panko. Add basil leaves and serve immediately.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: Vegetables
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Asparagus pasta, pasta with asparagus, asparagus pasta recipe

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snacky asparagus

You are fully invited to roll your eyes at the simplicity of this recipe. It’s not even a recipe. It’s more like a plating, a way of getting asparagus from market to table that I’ve been hooked on for over a year.

Here&#82…

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snacky asparagus-2

Here’s what makes it perfect: I love sauteed, roasted, and grilled asparagus, especially when the spears are sizzling hot and have crackly, charred spots, a mix of textures. But each of these methods has a tiny flaw, and that is timing. Roasted and grilled asparagus are amazing piping hot off the flame, but shortly after are a bit soggy. Still good, sure, but it goes further downhill the longer you wait to eat it. Poaching asparagus and popping it in an ice water bath preserves this perfectly-cooked, crisp-tender, bright green moment in time… for days.

snacky asparagus-3

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Is there anything better than a meal that’s quick, versatile, and satisfying?! We think not! This Easy Baked Cod hits all those marks — and more! It’s fresh, features a rainbow of spring vegetables, yields perfectly cooked, flaky fish, and is ready in 30 minutes

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Grated Egg Avocado Asparagus Salad

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This Wacky Storage Method Will Save Your Asparagus

Spring is a month away but if you think that I haven’t attempted to cook with the sad stalks of asparagus that are available in grocery stores right now, you are mistaken. Sure, they do the job for a quick roasted side dish, especially when sprinkled w…

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Whether there’s still snow on the ground in your area or you can finally step outside with just a light jean jacket, you should treasure these precious green stalks. If you’re buying asparagus, take care of it properly. The best way to store fresh asparagus is like a bouquet of tulips: aka upright in a glass jar with an inch of water. This will prevent the asparagus tips from getting mushy and smelly, while maintaining the stalk’s bright green color. Plus, a large mason jar or tall drinking glass will help to accommodate the towering stalks so that they can stay fresh for days. “Even better, trim the bottom one inch from the bottom before sticking them in a vase in your fridge,” says Food52 community member Alyssa.

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