Man, it’s been WAY too long since I’ve brought you guys some updates on my adventures in chef-ing. Sorry about that! I’ve been working on it, I promise. There have been a couple of things that I’ve gotten into in the last week or two that have just required some repeats and/or recipe tweaks that I didn’t entirely expect.
So this resolution is a pretty simple one. It’s one that I was confident I could get right the first time, and could bring it to you guys to tide you over while waiting on some more fascinating things that I’ve got in the works 🙂
So there isn’t really anything particularly intimidating or difficult about making pasta primavera, however, I had never made it before today! I love eating it, and I often order it out at restaurants. I love that the dish is super flexible, just sort of roll with whatever vegetables you have on hand kind of thing. There is a restaurant here in Decatur that I love called Brick Store that has a pierogi primavera that is SO GOOD! They use pierogis instead of regular pasta noodles… genius!
For my version, I used what I had in the house: zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, green beans, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, garlic, and red onion. By design here I also selected the most beautiful arrangement of colors which in my opinion, is key. This is a really simple dish, so you want to make it pop with color.
First things first, I put a pot of water on the stove to boil my pasta. While waiting for it to come to a boil, I chopped up my veggies into various shapes and sizes: the zucchini and squash I chopped into half moons; carrots were peeled and cut into matchsticks; green beans snapped into halved pieces; broccoli was cut into small florets; cherry tomatoes halved; red pepper roughly diced; garlic minced; red onion finely diced. When the noodles are done, just drain them and set them aside.
Once that was all done, It was about time to toss the noodles into the boiling water. While they were cooking, I started to cook the veggies. I did this in waves to ensure that the vegetables that require more cook time to get tender went into the skillet first. I personally prefer my vegetables pretty crisp, which is why I choose to cook them in the skillet as opposed to boiling them. I’m not a huge fan of boiled veggies unless they’re going into a dish with a robust sauce or something along those lines; otherwise, I feel like boiling zaps all the crispness and flavor out of them.
I first heated a large skillet over medium-high heat and added a tablespoon of olive oil. The first wave of vegetables included the broccoli, carrots, and peppers. Once I got them in the pan and coated with the olive oil, I added a bunch of seasoning – whatever you like works. I went with parsley, oregano, a basil citrus blend, Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning, and some salt and pepper. I added a splash of water and covered to get the broccoli going and let it sit a few minutes. Then I removed the lid and added the green beans and onions. Once that had a few minutes to cook, I added the garlic and gave it about a minute while stirring, then I tossed in the cherry tomatoes. Lastly I added the zucchini and squash. One thing I hate is mushy zucchini and squash which is why I added it last. This is completely subjective, but this order worked perfectly for the way I like my vegetables.
Once all the vegetables were finished cooking, it was time to add the cooked noodles. I turned the heat down to about medium-low and dumped the noodles directly into the skillet with the vegetables. I added a second tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, stirring to incorporate. I then sprinkled about a quarter of a cup of finely grated parmesan cheese on top. To finish it off, I squeezed a little fresh lemon juice over the top, about 1/2 a tablespoon of lemon zest, and a few crumbles of goat cheese.
And there you have it people. A simple, tasty, vegetable-filled pasta dinner in less than 30 minutes!
Lessons learned here:
- Make sure you cook the noodles al dente, you don’t want them to be mushy when you add them to the skillet to stir in with the vegetables.
- You can use literally whatever vegetables you have on hand, or whatever are your seasonal favorites. Try to make it as colorful as possible!
Ingredients (for two servings)
3/4 cup uncooked pasta
1 small yellow squash, cut into half moons
1/2 small zucchini, cut into half moons
1 small stalk of broccoli (about 1 cup chopped into florets)
1/2 cup fresh grean beans, snapped into small pieces
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
lots of seasoning (oregano, parsley, basil, salt and pepper, whatever you’ve got!)
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil for your pasta noodles.
- While that is coming to a boil, prep and chop all your vegetables as stated above.
- Once you place the noodles in the boiling water, warm a large skillet over medium-high heat to prepare to cook your vegetables. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Add the broccoli, carrots, and bell pepper to the skillet. Coat in the olive oil and add a splash of water and your spices. Cover to get the broccoli cooking and give it about 4-5 minutes.
- Add green beans and onions. Stir to incorporate then let cook another 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the minced garlic and stir frequently, about 1 minute.
- Add halved cherry tomatoes and stir frequently, about 1 minute.
- Add zucchini and squash and let cook about another 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir in 1 more Tbsp. olive oil, the cooked pasta noodles, the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- Top with fresh goat cheese if you like.