Pasta primavera is a dish of Italian-American origin that usually consists of pasta and fresh vegetables. Occasionally, meat may be added such as chicken or shrimp, but the focus of the dish is the vegetables themselves. Vegetables can be whatever is in season and available at the market. This version contains asparagus, young onions and foraged oyster mushrooms. A crisp white wine such as a Gruner Veltliner would go well with this dish.
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dried pasta such as farfalle, conchiglie, penne or fusilli
6-8 spears asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4″ pieces
3 large oyster mushrooms, sliced
3-4 young onion bulbs, trimmed and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon thyme, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
2 tablespoons edible nasturtium flowers, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Bring a pot of water to a roiling boil. Add a generous pinch of salt. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a roiling boil. Add asparagus and cook until asparagus becomes crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain, then immediately immerse asparagus in a bowl of ice water. This will halt the cooking process and help preserve the green color. Drain and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions; sauté briefly until onions become translucent. Do not let brown. You want the onions to still retain their pale green and purple color. If the onions begin to brown, you’ve cooked them too long. Remove from heat; spoon into a ramekin or small bowl and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms; sauté briefly until mushrooms are cooked through and tender. Add asparagus and a pinch of salt. Give a couple of stirs. Return onions to the pan, then add enough vegetable stock to the skillet so that a light sauce is formed. Turn heat up slightly. Reduce sauce until it thickens slightly, about 2-3 minutes.
Add pasta directly to the pan. Toss. Stir in nasturtium flowers. Cook until pasta is warmed through, about 2-3 more minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Spoon onto pasta bowls, sprinkle with herbs, more nasturtium flowers and cheese, then serve immediately.
Time: 30 minutes, including prep.