Pasta Primavera (Pasta With Spring Vegetables) Recipe

A bowl of pasta primavera with bright green vegetables.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Blanching green vegetables in a pot of salted water helps set their color and delivers bright flavor and crisp texture.
  • Infusing butter with garlic gives you mild garlic flavor throughout the whole dish.
  • Using crème fraîche in place of traditional heavy cream lends a brightness that complements the fresh vegetables instead of distracting from them.

Its name literally means "spring pasta," but too many versions of the ubiquitous Italian-American dish pasta primavera contain little if any green spring produce. This recipe fixes that, coating a mixture of bright vegetables, like asparagus shoots, English peas, fava beans, and broccolini, in a creamy but light sauce made with crème fraîche.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fava beans in their pods, or 4 ounces shucked fava beans (120g shucked beans)

  • 12 ounces English peas in their pods, or 4 ounces shucked peas (120g shucked peas)

  • Kosher salt

  • 8 ounces (225g) asparagus, woody ends removed, stalks cut on a sharp bias into 1-inch pieces

  • 6 ounces (170g) snap peas, strings removed, cut on a sharp bias into 1/2-inch slices

  • 8 ounces (170g) broccolini, woody ends removed, cut on a sharp bias into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 tablespoons (50gunsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

  • 2 whole cloves garlic, lightly smashed with the side of a knife

  • 3 ounces (90g) pine nuts

  • 1 pound (450g) fresh egg pasta, such as fettuccine, penne, or gemelli (see note)

  • 6 ounces (170mlcreme fraiche

  • 2 teaspoons (5g) finely grated zest and 1 teaspoon (5ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon

  • 1/2 ounce minced fresh basil leaves (about 1/2 cup packed leaves; 15g)

  • 1/2 ounce minced fresh parsley leaves (about 1/2 cup packed leaves; 15g)

  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. If using fava beans and peas in their pods, shuck beans and peas from pods, keeping beans and peas separate. Discard pods. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Working with one vegetable at a time, blanch favas, peas, asparagus, snap peas, and broccolini in boiling water for 1 minute each, transfer to ice bath to cool, then transfer to a paper towel–lined tray and pat dry. Remove and discard skin from each individual fava bean. Set vegetables aside. Empty pot, refill it with fresh water, season generously with salt, and return to a boil.

    Bowls of prepped vegetables for pasta primavera

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  2. Meanwhile, in a 3- to 4-quart saucier or a 12-inch skillet, heat butter, olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts over low heat until gently sizzling. Cook, swirling pan constantly, until pine nuts just start to brown and garlic aroma is very strong. Do not let butter brown; remove it from heat occasionally if it starts to sizzle too rapidly. Discard garlic cloves. Add blanched vegetables to pan and toss to combine. Remove from heat.

    Stirring pine nuts and garlic in butter for pasta primavera

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  3. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook until just shy of al dente, about 1 minute total for most fresh pasta (see note). Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Transfer pasta to pan with vegetables and add crème fraîche, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, and parsley. Set over high heat and cook, stirring and tossing constantly and adjusting the consistency as necessary with a few splashes of the starchy pasta water, until liquid reduces to a creamy sauce. The sauce should coat the pasta and leave a creamy trail on the bottom of the pan when you drag a wooden spoon through it.

    Stirring pasta into green vegetables for pasta primavera

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  4. Off heat, stir in a generous shaving of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.

    A saucepan filled with pasta primavera

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Special equipment

3- or 4-quart saucier or 12-inch skillet

Notes

Fresh egg pasta is ideal for this dish, but you can substitute an equal amount of dried pasta. Cook the dried pasta for 1 to 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate before adding it to the pan with the vegetables in step 3.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
582 Calories
39g Fat
46g Carbs
15g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 582
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 14g 71%
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 468mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 38mg 192%
Calcium 113mg 9%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 554mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)