This dish is a big favorite at our house. My husband ordered it once while we were on vacation, and absolutely loved it. He still talks about how wonderful it was. Just between you and me I think his memory has greatly enhanced it over time, but since he first ate this meal, I have tried to recreate it. These are the requirements: pasta must be farfalle (bow-tie pasta), vegetables must be julian cut, sauce must be loose/wet, not creamy. Several years ago I hit on the right combination, and he pronounced it “perfect”. Hooray!
Primavera is the Italian word for “spring”, and when I make it during the springtime, I use vegetables in season during the spring. In today’s version I use vegetables that are more available in the summer with so much that is garden fresh now. That’s the versatility of this recipe, you can change up what you put in it, and it still tastes great.
The recipe that gave me a basis to work with came from Giada DeLaurentiis’ book, Everyday Italian. I made some modifications, mainly with the seasonings, to try to recapture the flavor Mr. D. remembers. I also roasted the vegetables all together on a baking sheet seasoned with some olive oil and Italian herbs. If all the vegetables are cut into the same size pieces, they will all cook up in the same time frame. While they are roasting, you can have the pasta cooking, and you can be sauteing onion and garlic along with the other ingredients for the sauce. Once the parts are cooked, put them all together, and you’re done. Simple and delicious!
Yield: Serves 4
- 3 carrots, peeled
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 yellow summer squash
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 Tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound dried farfalle pasta (bow-tie pasta)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- fresh basil, chopped for garnish
- shredded Parmesan cheese, for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 450*F. Cut the carrots, zucchini, squash, and bell peppers into thin 2-inch-long strips. On a heavy baking sheet toss the vegetable strips with 2 Tablespoons olive oil, Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another large, heavy baking sheet, and arrange the vegetables evenly over both sheets.
2. Bake, stirring after the first 10 minutes, and continue baking until carrots are tender and the other vegetables begin to brown, about 20 minutes, total. Note: my vegetables were fork tender at the 10 minute time, so watch carefully. They should have a little chew to them and not be over cooked.
3. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, about 8-9 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the chopped onion, and minced garlic. Cook on low until they are tender. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Mix to incorporate. Add the pasta and roast vegetables and toss together. Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time to liquify the sauce to your taste.
5. Put into a large bowl, garnish with chopped basil and serve with Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.
SOURCE: Modified from Everyday Italian, by Giada DeLaurentiis