Friday, December 3, 2010

Pasta Primavera

I've talked about my youngest daughter being vegetarian. Most of the time this doesn't present a challenge for us because she loves veggies (as do we all) and can make a meal of all the side dishes I come up with. In fact, we've discovered some new favorites along the way.

Pasta Primavera is one of these favorites. I swear I never make it exactly the same way twice, but I had to come up with a big batch for Thanksgiving - my contribution to the dinner. My brother-in-law, Mitch, made some fabulous, fabulous vegetarian stuffing and I really must get that recipe from him! But... here below is our newest attempt at Pasta Primavera. So far, this is everyone's favorite version.

If you skim the instructions below, it's going to sound like a lot of work. But it isn't really. Plus, I tend to add ingredients until things feel right, you know? Don't feel pressured to follow this exactly. Have fun with it!

Pasta Primavera

Olive oil
Italian seasoning - example: McCormick's
1 lb bag of frozen broccoli florets, steamed to al dente
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 or so cloves of garlic, minced
1 bag frozen green peas
1 each, yellow, green, and red peppers, cut up into bite-sized pieces
1/2 purple onion cut up into bite-sized pieces
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
fresh basil
heavy cream
fresh Parmagiano cheese
1 box mostaccioli - prepared al dente (I like the mostaccioli noodles with lines on them)

Combine prepared (al dente) broccoli with other vegetables - peppers, peas, purple onion (not tomatoes. Hold those out for now). Toss with olive oil and Italian seasoning. Place in pan and roast in oven, about 20 minutes. You want the veggies to still be a little crispy because you'll be cooking them again and you don't want them to be too floppy.

The roasting gives them a really nice flavor that adds a lot to this dish, I think.

While they're roasting, prepare your sauce. Here's where I play and I really liked how this one came out. Heat olive oil in a large saute/frying pan. I probably used a half cup of olive oil (maybe more). As soon as it shimmers, add chopped yellow onion. Add garlic. When garlic and onion have completely softened and have begun to turn yellow/brown, add heavy cream. How much? I think I used about a cup. Stir until well combined and until the cream starts to thicken. If it gets too thick too quickly, just add a little more olive oil.

Once the mixture is hot, add halved cherry tomatoes and fresh basil, snipped into small pieces (you'll use more basil later, too).

Before you add your sauce to your prepared (al dente) noodles, eye the mixtures. If you need a bit more sauce, this is the time to make it.

Combine the noodles and sauce. Allow to sit so that the flavors infuse the noodles.

By now the veggies should be done in the oven. Test them to make sure they're cooked well enough.

Add cooked veggies to sauce/noodle mixture. Stir well.

Heat oven to 350, and butter a baking dish. Pour pasta mixture into prepared pan, grate some Parmagiano cheese over the top, snip more fresh basil over the top, cover with foil and bake until hot. About 30 minutes.

Very fresh, very delicious.
Very vegetarian!

Have fun!

Just a reminder: Christmas is coming and books make wonderful gifts!

Make someone happy with a book they'll love and help support independent booksellers at the same time. A two-fer!

* * * * * * * * *

Krista's Christmas
Cookie Contest

Krista Davis is celebrating the upcoming release
of her new holiday mystery, The Diva Cooks a Goose.

She's holding a delicious contest!
Send Krista your favorite cookie recipe
Krista at KristaDavis dot com and you might win!

Find out more
clicking here


  1. You pasta primavera looks delicious.

  2. I haven't had Pasta Primavera for ages! I like your version--and it looks a lot more colorful and yummier than the old version I used to use. Thanks for the recipe, Julie!

  3. I love pasta primavera. The addition of cream is a nice touch! Yummy.


  4. Julie, this sounds great! It's just the kind of dish I love to make. Yum! Just right for this cold weather, too. Pasta is such a comfort food.

    ~ Krista

  5. That sounds delicious, and colorful. I love the idea of roasting the vegetables first for added flavor.

  6. Thanks, Dru!

    Elizabeth, Avery, Krista, Sheila - I love the colors, too. I think part of the reason I add the yellow and red peppers is just because they make it look so pretty. But they really do add flavor, as does the purple onion. Lately it seems I'm so much more into flavor than I've ever been. Hope you try this one. It's really, really good.

  7. Any one dish meals this time of year is a very good thing... Warms up well in the microwave I'll bet

  8. It does, Dave. Really well.
    Hey - thanks for the shout-out on your blog today. Glad the pumpkin pie worked well for you. And, as I said there - I think I'll adopt the buttermilk substitution next time I make it. Great idea!

  9. This does look good. I like the one dish meals myself now that it colder. The boys would even eat this and that's a good thing.

  10. What a bright, fresh idea as we move into the bleak grayness of winter. Love the color in your photos (all the pretty leaves are now off our New York trees, sniff). Nice observation on the primavera, too - a wonderfully flexible dish depending on what veggies look good at the grocers and what you have on hand. Have a great weekend, Julie!

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  11. Babs - one dish meals are so great, aren't they? Love 'em. And like Dave said - fabulous leftovers.

    Cleo - thanks so much! And thanks for the heads up about this post making it into Crime Fiction Daily!

  12. This looks wonderful, Julie! The colors are perfect for a Christmas buffet. I am always looking for another "go to" recipe this time of year and you have made the cut! Thanks so very much!

  13. I'm glad you like it, Nanc. It is a good option for a buffet. Enjoy!

  14. Ooh, ooh, I just bought all the ingredients, except I substituted those darling tiny peppers that have started appearing on our market.

    Does anybody else buy food because it's cute?

  15. Wow. I took a few days off, and Julie posts this great recipe! I came up with something similar a few summers back, except it's more stir fried than baked,LOL. Every fresh veggie I could find in the produce section (no garden that year), stir fried til crispy-tender, served over angel hair pasta with alfredo sauce. YUMMMM!