Happy first day of spring! I am so excited for warmer days, gardening, and eating tender spring vegetables. How about you? One dish I look forward to enjoying this time of year is Pasta Primavera, or “Spring Pasta.” This dish is a celebration of all things green, open to variation based on what’s available at the farmer’s market or what you have to harvest in your garden. I’ve combined asparagus, baby zucchini, basil, chive, and parsley, but peppery arugula leaves, peas, leeks, spring onions or ramps would be lovely substitutions. Lemon adds a bit of brightness and crushed red pepper contributes a surprisingly welcome heat. Crumbled soft goat cheese serves as a creamy, tangy garnish.
Serve Pasta Primavera at room temperature – it’s perfect for entertaining friends al fresco. Take advantage of the first warm day that comes your way with a bottle of crisp, refreshing white wine and a leisurely weekend lunch on the patio. Buon appetito!
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 pound asparagus
- 3 baby zucchini
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chive
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese
- Crushed red chile pepper flakes
Blanch the asparagus. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces, discarding the tough end of the stem. Bring a large pot of water to boil and toss in asparagus pieces. Cook for 2 min and then place the asparagus in a bowl of ice water. This process keeps the asparagus color bright green. Once cooled, drain the asparagus and set it aside.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain well and pour into a large bowl. Grate the zest from 1 lemon over the pasta. Add the juice of the lemon along with 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss to combine.
Cook the vegetables. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Thinly slice zucchini and sauté in the oil, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelized (about 5 min). Add asparagus to the zucchini and cook just until warmed through. Pour vegetable mixture over pasta.
Toss pasta with herbs and vegetables to evenly distribute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve family-style on a large platter with crumbled goat cheese and crushed red pepper flakes at the table.