Celebrate spring with pasta primavera

Primavera means the season of spring in Italian. Pasta primavera should be made with the crisp vegetables of spring.

Three Many Cooks
Pasta primavera is designed to showcase crisp vegetables in a light broth sauce made bright with lemon flavors.

Watch a video of Sharon Anderson making her pasta primavera here.

As a grad student, I’m not exactly rolling in the dough (unless you count bread dough). So, I eat pasta…a lot. But there are only so many times I can eat tomato sauce, no matter how fancy I make it. In this week’s USA Weekend column, I share my technique for making pasta with vegetables in a light, flavorful, wine and broth-based sauce. This is my absolute go-to formula for fast and fresh weeknight dinners. You can use any vegetables, any wine (or none), any broth, any herbs, and you can even add sausage, bacon, or chicken … they sky’s the limit. Just be sure to taste along the way, try new things, and trust your instincts!

Pasta primavera
Serves 4

12 ounces linguine, or other long pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more to taste
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 heaping tablespoon capers, roughly chopped
1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces and tough ends discarded
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 lemon: 2 teaspoons zest, 2 tablespoons juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, more for sprinkling
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When water is boiling, add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about another minute. Add the pepper flakes and thyme and stir to coat. Add the wine, chicken broth, and capers; simmer to blend flavors, about 3-5 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and add asparagus and peas. Cover and cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender and bright green, about 3-4 minutes.

When the pasta is done, drain (reserving about some of the water) and add it to the sauce. Add the lemon juice and zest, butter, and grated Parmigiano, stirring constantly to melt the butter and coat the pasta. Add a little pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve, drizzling each portion with a little olive oil and sprinkling each with more Parmigiano.

Sharon Anderson blogs with her mother and sister at Three Many Cooks.

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The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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