Some of the most exotic-sounding and most delicious-tasting dishes we every come across are actually quick and easy to make. You just have to know how! So, I’m starting a series today revealing the secrets behind some of the world’s most famous dishes in hopes that you’ll try them…
Pasta Primavera translates to English as ‘Spring Pasta’. And that’s just what it is: Pasta with sauteed early-season veggies and topped with with Grated Parmesan. Sounds simple, but when you see it on the plate in a restaurant, you might think it took hours top prepare. Not so.
I do it this way…
First, I bring my Pasta water to a rolling boil with a big pinch of Salt. Don’t make the mistake of under-Salting your Pasta water. Your Pasta will taste flat and, if you overcook it, pasty. Add the pasta and cook until just tooth tender – al denté. You may like it softer, but remember that it will be cooked again, with the sauce, later on. Any kind of Pasta will work just fine. Stick with what you like.
I use a vegetable peeler to slice Green and Yellow Zucchini and Carrot into thin strips. Slice up as much as you like Veggies are good for you! I also slice Onion into thin tendrils by First cutting the Onion in half from Top to bottom, then quartering it and taking thin slices off the ‘ring’ face of each quarter. Red and Green Peppers come next. I cut the tops and bottoms off first, setting them aside for uise in other dishes. Then I slide my knife blade around the inside of the Pepper, cutting out the core and ribs. Then, I cut once down the side of the resulting cylinder so I can flatten out the pepper in a nice sheet. Now, it’s easy to slice the Pepper into thin sticks. I slice my Mushrooms thinly (no more than 1/8 in. / 3 cm). Use as much of each Veggie as you like!
Finally, I halve a good handful of Cherry or Grape Tomatoes and add them to the other Veggies.
Now, bring a couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil to medium-high in a large frying pan and add your choice of Italian Spices. The blend will include Oregano, Basil and Rosemary plus, maybe, Thyme. The proportions are up to you. Let them toast for a minute. Sprinkle in a nice big pinch of Salt and Pepper. Don’t skimp on the Pepper. That’s what makes the bright Spring flavours shine!
Now add in the Veggies and stir gently to combine them thoroughly and get them coated in Oil. If you’re too rough with them, the Tomatoes will break down and your sauce won’t look right. If you can do the Chef’s Flip, use it to turn the veggies over every minute or so until they’re just cooked through. Otherwise, turn gently with tongs. Nobody wants raw veggies in a beautiful dish like this!
So… You’ve been keeping your eye on the pasta and it should be done by now. Drain and add to the sauce, turning gently with tongs to combine. Toss in a good handful of grated Parmesan and toss briefly to mix it in. Serve as soon as possible, grating more Parmesan on top of each plate.
~ Maggie J.