There's something about the old Pasta Primavera that is unappealing. Perhaps it's all the banquets where it sits in a hotel pan over sterno so long that it ends up as overcooked pasta slathered in separating butter and heavy cream. Or maybe it's all the weddings, where it's offered as The Vegetarian Option, in which said vegetables are sad, brown, withered and mushy like the so-called "green" beans in the school cafeteria. This evening we wanted to take another look at the pasta named after springtime and see if we could give it a freshness worthy of its name. Here's what resulted in a bright dish that had lots healthy goodness (thanks for all those spring vegetables), a good variety of textures (al dente pasta, crisp veggies and creamy ricotta), and a little bit of a kick (hello garlic and red pepper!).
1/2 pound penne pasta
1 cup fresh peas
1/4 pound green beans, cut in half
1/4 pound sugar snap peas
3 small carrots, cut into small rounds
1 small yellow squash, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped mint
Vegetables and herbs are prepped and ready to go
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta three minutes less than package directs. Add the peas, green beans, snap peas, carrots and squash in with the pasta and cook for the remaining time (3-4 minutes), until pasta and vegetables are to desired tenderness. In a large saute pan, add the oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Put the heat on medium and begin to cook the garlic and pepper in the oil, taking care not to burn it. Drain the pasta and vegetables and add them to the saute pan; toss well. Stir in the parmesan and ricotta and salt to taste. Toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and serve into pasta dishes. Sprinkle each dish with some chopped chives and mint.
Pasta and vegetables boiling together for three to four minutes
Garlic and red pepper flakes heating up with some olive oil
Add some cheese, please!