Penna alla Primavera

It's that time of year when we're all watching our waistlines but still craving hearty food in the cold, winter weather. This simple recipe for Penne alla Primavera will leave you feeling satisfied but it doesn't pack a calorie punch like creamy pasta dishes can.

Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, halved and sliced
4 oz morels, sliced (you could use mushrooms instead)
8-10 asparagus stalks, sliced
1 cup peas
1 cup fava or lima beans
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1 lb penne pasta
Coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, basil and mint
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation method
1. Lightly oil a large pot with olive oil and place over a medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and cook, with stirring, for 30 seconds and then add the carrots. Reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook with occasional stirring for 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, followed by the asparagus and cook again for 2 minutes before adding the peas, beans and scallions.
3. Season with sea salt and pepper and allow the vegetables to cook, with stirring, until they are all tender (perhaps about a further 2 minutes) then remove the pan from the heat.
4. Boil a large pot of water and add a pinch or two of salt before adding the pasta. Cook until just tender, usually between 10 and 12 minutes but follow the pack instructions.
5. Once cooked, drain the pasta but reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
6. Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water to the vegetables and then stir and toss the mix over a medium heat.
7. Cover, reduce the heat to low and allow the pasta to steam for 2 minutes. Then stir in a splash of olive oil with the parsley, basil and mint and serve with Parmigiano on top.

It may sound authentically Italian but apparently the recipe for Penne alla Primavera originates from Canada!

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