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April 15, 2015

30-minute meals: Spring garden pasta primavera

Recipes Cooking
Pasta Primavera Tom D'Intino/for PhillyVoice

This healthy Italian classic takes only 30 minutes to prepare.

Finding time to make a healthy, home-cooked meal for your family can be challenging on a good day. Jobs, schools, practices, games, recitals, rehearsals, devices and life try to make what was once a daily staple, homemade dinner with the family, into an elusive dream. But with about 30 minutes and a sharp knife, you can whip up this Italian classic and get everyone back around the table.

Spring Garden Pasta Primavera

Serves 4

You will need: 

1 large shallot, halved and sliced thin
1 roasted red pepper, julienne style
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 cups snap peas, cleaned and clipped
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 yellow pepper, medium diced
10 pieces of asparagus, woody end removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
10 grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
1-pound box or homemade pasta (penne or bow tie work well. Picture above is homemade capunti)
Salt and Pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon fresh diced parsley
4 fresh basil, chiffonade or fine julienne style

It is important to have everything ready to go before you start cooking the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted (approximately 2 tablespoons of salt) water to a boil to cook your pasta, asparagus and peas in. While waiting for the water to boil, slice, dice and chop everything above. 

Once the water reaches a boil, add the pasta and occasionally stir. Traditional box pasta takes about 8-10 minutes to cook. Set a timer for 3 minutes less than what is recommended on the package.  

Once your timer goes off, add the snap peas and asparagus to the pot and add 3 minutes to the timer. 

While your pasta is cooking, coat a large saucepan with olive oil and set to medium heat. Sautee your carrots, yellow pepper, shallots, garlic, mushrooms, squash and zucchini for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and roasted red peppers. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.  
You may need to add more oil throughout the process because some of the vegetables (looking at you, mushrooms) will absorb it. If your pan seems "dry," feel free to add a little more oil throughout the process.  

About a minute before the pasta and vegetables are done, turn the saucepan heat up to high and stir. 

Drain the pasta and vegetables, saving roughly a 1/4 cup of pasta water. Pour the pasta, peas and asparagus into the pan and toss. Add chicken stock and pasta water and deglaze the pan. Toss in a healthy amount of Parmesan cheese, parsley and basil. Let it cook for another minute on high. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a basil leaf.