Pasta Primavera with Crab Meat

Pasta Primavera with Crab

Pasta Primavera with Crab

 

A walk through the produce section of the supermarket at this time of year makes me think of pasta primavera.  The word primavera means “first green” in Italian.  So pasta primavera is, technically, pasta with the first green vegetables of spring,  Many restaurants disregard this meaning, however, and include just about any vegetables they have on hand.  Personally, I’d rather not find corn, summer squash or sweet peppers in my primavera.  I also find that a sauce made with heavy cream and butter is much too thick and rich for what should be a light springtime meal.

IMG_7110

What is supposed to happen goes something like this:  the chef gets up at dawn to browse the farmer’s market, finds the most awesome display of spring vegetables, then goes back to his kitchen and prepares them in a light cream sauce on perfectly cooked pasta.  Unfortunately that chef probably lives nowhere near you.  But here’s the good news!  That chef can be you (and me).  Walking through the market and filling your basket with whatever catches your eye is fun.  You’ll be surprised  at how easy it is to find beautiful spring produce when you actually shop for it in the spring.

Making pasta primavera is quite easy, with the most time spent cutting up the vegetables.  They should all be cut in uniform size so they will cook in the same amount of time. I like to jullien cut my vegetables so they are the same shape as the pasta. Once that’s all done, cooking the veggies till they’re tender and making the sauce takes place while the pasta cooks.  Put it all together, and you will have a dish that is fresh, bright, and attractive to serve.  The version that I put together uses only 8-ounces of fettuccine, lots of vegetables, and some crab meat for added protein. Vegetarians can omit the crab meat.  This dish makes 6 generous servings, so the calorie and carbohydrate content  per serving is low.

IMG_7113

 

PASTA PRIMAVERA WITH CRAB MEAT

Yield:   Makes 6 generous servings    Recipe can be halved.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

    Have all the vegetables prepped before you start cooking.

    Have all the vegetables prepped before you start cooking.

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced asparagus
  • 1 cup spring peas
  • 1 cup carrots, jullienned
  • 1 medium zucchini, jullienned
  • 1 large spring onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 3/4 pound crab meat, or similar amount crab-flavored chunks
  • 1 cup half and half, or light cream
  • 8 ounces linguine or fettuccine, cooked according to package directions, drained and hot.
  • black pepper to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté  vegetables 2 -3 minutes or until crisp tender.

 Sautéing the vegetables.


Sautéing the vegetables.

Add herbs and crab meat; sauté 1 – 2 minutes.

Add in the herbs and crabmeat.

Add in the herbs and crabmeat.

Add half and half, heat to boiling.Drain pasta, saving about 1/2 cup cooking liquid.  Add to skillet with vegetables and sauce.  Gently toss with pasta, adding some cooking liquid if necessary to loosen the sauce.

Adding in the sauce and pasta.

Adding in the sauce and pasta.

 

Toss all together in a large bowl and serve.

Toss all together in a large bowl and serve.

Transfer to a large serving bowl.  Season to taste with pepper.  Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

 

SOURCE:   A Carolyn Original

In the archives there is a former recipe for pasta primavera that I have worked with to come up with this new and improved recipe that I believe is lighter and healthier.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera

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!

IMG_4648

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!

IMG_4647

PASTA PRIMAVERA

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots, peeled

    An assortment of vegetables and pasta make the meal.

    An assortment of vegetables and pasta make the meal.

  • 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.

Colorful vegetables, julian cut, before roasting.

Colorful vegetables, julian cut, before roasting.

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.

Add the pasta and vegetables to the sauce .

Add the pasta and vegetables to the sauce .

5.  Put into a large bowl, garnish with chopped basil and serve with Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.

Serve in a large bowl, garnished with fresh basil.

Serve in a large bowl, garnished with fresh basil.

IMG_4650

SOURCE:   Modified from  Everyday Italian, by Giada DeLaurentiis