A simple yet delicious dish, pasta primavera became an icon of New York City’s dining scene during the 1970s. Popularized by Le Cirque restaurant, the recipe has since been personalized countless times by other chefs and cookbook authors. It’s come to represent almost any combination of pasta with fresh vegetables, often in a cream sauce. This version has a pesto-like pea purée as its base, which keeps things light and green for spring.
- 1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 ounces Parmesan, or other salty hard cheese, grated
- 1 packed cup parsley
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- 12 ounces dried spiral pasta, like cavatappi, gemelli or fusilli
- 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces
- 8 ounces fresh snap peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
- ¼ packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Add 1 cup thawed peas, garlic, lemon juice, cheese, parsley and oil to food processor. Blend until smooth. Add salt, to taste. Transfer to large bowl and set aside.
Bring pot of lightly salted water to boil, and add pasta. Just before pasta reaches al dente, add asparagus and snap peas. Reserve about ¾ cup pasta water. Continue to cook until pasta is al dente.
Add pasta water to pea purée. Whisk until smooth.
Drain pasta and vegetables, and return to pot. Stir in pea purée and remaining peas. Stir in pea purée and remaining peas. Stir until heated through. Season with salt, to taste. Divide among plates, and garnish with basil. Serves 4.
Chardonnay’s intrinsic acidity and chameleonic character make it especially food friendly. This bottling shows little oak influence, and instead combines ripe fruit with briny minerality. Though it has the body to stand up to hearty pasta, it also has a freshness that will go well with the dish’s bright green flavors.