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The Best Pasta Primavera Ever

June 20, 2011

Do yourself a favor and make this as soon as humanly possible. It’s so delicious, I’m really sad that we only had one serving of leftovers.

Make the sauce from Ina Garten’s (the Barefoot Contessa) Lemon Fusilli with Arugula recipe. I halved it, but I’m really wish I made the full amount now.

Ok, so you have your sauce, and now, instead of fusilli, arugula, and tomatoes (the recipe from the cookbook I own doesn’t include broccoli, that must be a later addition), keep the arugula and tomatoes, substitute cheese tortellini, and add red onion, bell pepper, green beans and mushrooms. Mix. Serve. Become giddy with delight over the deliciousness. Sláinte! Or more appropriately, what they say in Italy — Salute!

For your convenience, here is the entire recipe as I made it:

The Best Pasta Primavera Ever

1/2 tablespoon (for sauce) plus a drizzle of olive oil (for veggies, coat your pan plus a little extra)
5-6 cloves minced garlic, divided (2 cloves for sauce, the rest for veggies)
1 cup heavy cream
2 lemons, juiced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 package fresh cheese tortellini (try Trader Joe’s or Buitoni)
1 red bell pepper
1/2 a large red onion
1/2 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
1-2 handfuls of fresh green beans
1/2 pint of grape tomatoes
1 handful baby arugula
any other veggies that you enjoy or happen to have on hand (peas, carrots, and broccoli would all be good additions; you could also add a protein, chicken or shrimp would be delightful, but this is simple and still very hearty and yummy sans meat.)

In a small saucepan over medium to low heat, heat your 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and add 2 cloves worth of minced garlic, cooking for about a minute. Add the cream, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Don’t worry about the lemon zest, the juice really gives you plenty of good flavor here. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Set aside, or, do the first part and allow it to simmer as you are making the rest of the meal.

Get water boiling for cooking your pasta. Wait to add your pasta until your veggies are all chopped and in the pan — fresh pasta takes much less time to cook than dried. Chop the bell pepper and onion into bite size pieces, halve the grape tomatoes and green beans. Buy the mushrooms pre-sliced, because they cost the same and it’s so much easier. Use a large pan over medium heat to cook your veggies — heat the olive oil then add the garlic, salt and pepper first. Then add your onion and pepper and cook for a few minutes. Add the green beans and mushrooms and continue cooking for another minute or two. Now add your pasta to the boiling water. It should take about six minutes (check your package directions). When your pasta is done, your veggies should also be tender but not soft. Drain the pasta, add it into the pan with the veggies. Now add the tomatoes and the arugula. Stir to mix everything together, then drizzle the sauce on top and serve. Enjoy!

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