Friday, July 26, 2019

RECIPE: Veggie-Heavy Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera is "Springtime Pasta" made with spring vegetables.  Whenever I order Pasta Primavera in a restaurant, it's always light on the vegetables and heavy on the pasta!  This recipe is my attempt to overcome that using as many of the vegetables currently in our farm store, plus a few that aren't.  Additional veggies that would be awesome in this dish would be asparagus and artichoke hearts.

Veggie-Heavy Pasta Primavera
Serves 8-10

1 pound noodle-shape pasta (elbows, shells, penne, fussili, bowties, whatever...)
2 cups shelled peas
2 cups green beans cut into 1" pieces
2 cups carrot coins
2 cups broccoli florets
OPT: 2 t. red pepper flakes
2 cups sliced mushrooms
6 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
4 green peppers, cut into 1/2" dice
2 cups small yellow summer squash/zucchini
4 large scallions, green parts sliced 1/2" thick, white parts sliced 1/4" thick
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 T. chopped fresh herbs: parsley, basil, chives or a combination
1 c. EVOO, divided

I decided that the easiest way to cook the vegetables and not have them overdone was to cook each one separately in boiling water until they were crisp-tender, and then combine them all at the end.  I then used the veggie-flavored water to cook the pasta.  The times noted are for farm-fresh vegetables.  Adjust them if your vegetables are frozen or from a grocery. 

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to boil in an 8-quart stock pot with a pasta insert.  Add the peas to the water and cook for 7 minutes or until almost soft.  Remove the pasta insert with the peas inside letting all the water drain back into the stock pot.  Set peas aside in a large bowl and return pasta insert to stock pot.

Repeat with green beans, cooking for 7 minutes, adding to the bowl with the peas.

Repeat with carrot coins, cooking for 5 minutes.

Repeat with yellow squash cooking for 3 minutes.

Repeat with broccoli cooking for 4 minutes.

Turn off heat under water.

In a large saute pan heat 2 T. EVOO over med-high and saute the mushrooms until lightly browned.  Remove but do NOT add to the bowl with the other vegetables.

Reduce heat to med, add 2 T. EVOO to the pan, and saute the garlic, green peppers, and the whites of the scallions until softened.  Add the mushrooms back into the pan, and the pepper flakes if you're using them, and keep warm over low heat.

Bring the water back to boil and cook the pasta until al dente (follow directions for timing on the package).  Add the reserved vegetables back into the water and cook until pasta is done and vegetables have been reheated - about 1 minute max!   Drain immediately reserving 1 c of the cooking water.

Add the pasta and vegetables to the saute pan with the garlic, peppers, and mushrooms.  Add the tomatoes, the scallion greens, the chopped herbs, and the rest of the EVOO and toss to combine.  If it's too dry, add some of the cooking water.

Adjust salt and serve.

NOTE: I used a tri-color pasta made with spinach, beets, and turmeric which adds to the colorfulness (and nutrition) of the dish.  Although there is only 1 pound of pasta, it makes a HUGE amount.  Fortunately, the leftovers can be eaten cold. (If you use gluten free pasta, it probably cannot be eaten cold, as we've found that the Tres-Omega pasta we use is very tough unless it's warm.)

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