Pasta Primavera

My mother routinely makes a version of this with pretty much whatever vegetables she has on hand. Sometimes there are mushrooms, sometimes there’s no pepper.  Even the herbs can change (no basil? No problem!  Add some oregano or parsley instead).   Don’t be turned off by the number of ingredients or by the blanching process – it’s really pretty easy and faster than it sounds. 

Adapted From the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites  


 6 garlic cloves

 2 tsp olive oil

3 cups chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup dry white wine or low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup sliced fresh basil leaves  

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

6 oz. of sliced mushrooms (button or baby portabella are nice)

 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks

1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch matchsticks  

1-2 cups of any or all: sugar snap peas, snow peas, string beans

2 small zucchini or summer squash, cut into 2-inch matchsticks  

1 cup fresh or frozen green peas

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 pound farfalle or pasta of choice

1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese


  • Saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, wine (or broth) and season with salt.  Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add basil and reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Blanch the vegetables in boiling water, in the following order:  carrots, 1 minute later add the asparagus/bell pepper/snow & snap peas/green beans, 1 minute later add the zucchini/squash, then finally the peas.  Remove the veggies using a slotted spoon (or if you have a metal steaming basket you can put the veggies in there and just pull it out), but save the boiling water to cook the pasta.
  • Add the blanched vegetables to the tomato sauce and stir. 
  • Cook pasta according to directions.  Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water.
  • Toss the pasta with the reserved cooking water and 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese.
  • Top with the tomato-vegetable sauce.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.

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