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.
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.
PASTA PRIMAVERA WITH CRAB MEAT
Yield: Makes 6 generous servings Recipe can be halved.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 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)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté vegetables 2 -3 minutes or until crisp tender.
Add herbs and crab meat; sauté 1 – 2 minutes.
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.
Transfer to a large serving bowl. Season to taste with pepper. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.
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.