Spring brings with it many things—sunshine, flowers we haven't seen in months (hello, peonies), and seasonal veggies to write home about. And what better way to indulge in fresh asparagus, peas and the like than with the pasta of spring with pasta primavera recipes? (PSA: In case you don't already know, "primavera" translates to "springtime" in Italian.)
While the dish is rooted in Italy where local families whipped up fresh pasta dishes incorporating the best of the season's veggies for years, it became popularized at Manhattan's popular Le Cirque restaurant in the 1970s. (It was then that it was dubbed "by far, the most talked-about dish in Manhattan"). As such, no fewer than three people claimed they popularized the spaghetti primavera dish in the States, in all its broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, green bean, pea and mushroom glory. The original dish also contained basil, tomato cubes, chicken broth, butter, heavy cream, and parmesan for a heavier sauce than what you're likely familiar with nowadays.
Since the '70s, the dish has taken on different variations, but it's never lost its springtime freshness. That's where modern-day versions like "skinny" pasta primavera made with almond milk and low-carb creamy cauliflower pasta come in. So go on, keep reading to see our current picks for pasta primavera recipes that show off all of spring's goodness. Veggies, galore.
ONE-POT SKINNY PASTA PRIMAVERA
The Le Cirque version of pasta primavera had over 10 steps, but sometimes dinner calls for something a little bit quicker. Enter this lighter, simpler one-pot version from Foodie Crush that cooks up in 35 minutes, tops. Instead of cream and butter, you actually sub in almond milk (it's so versatile, right?), which blends well with parmesan cheese to create a creamy sauce. Fresh dill and lemon peel add a pop of freshness to the spaghetti.
Veggies of choice: Asparagus, leeks, broccoli, mushrooms, English peas, kale sprouts
GARDEN VEGGIE RAVIOLI WITH PISTACHIO BUTTER
We told you there were tons of variations on pasta primavera recipes, and this is one of the more modern and creative takes. The first swap? Cheese ravioli for your typical fettuccine or spaghetti. The next big difference is that the butter sauce with lemon and parmesan has chopped roasted pistachios instead of cream for a totally different twist. Dip in some crusty bread and you'll be golden.
Veggies of choice: Corn, red pepper, asparagus, zucchini, cherry tomatoes
CREAMY CAULIFLOWER PASTA
Vegan friends, this recipe is for you. Start by making a quick vegan parmesan with cashews and nutritional yeast. Then, combine the pasta with the parmesan sauce and some sautéed cauliflower and roasted tomatoes (be sure to add some reserved pasta water to get the right creaminess). Peas add a bit of texture while a bevy of spices like chili flakes, sweet paprika, and basil give it that extra oomph.
Veggies of choice: Cauliflower, slow-roasted tomatoes, peas
CREAMY SPRING VEGETABLE PASTA PRIMAVERA
There's nothing quite like a 30-minute dinner in the middle of a hectic week. Thankfully, this take on pasta primavera from Hummusapien can be whipped up that fast. By going semi-homemade and using a white bean dip as the base of the sauce, you're sacrificing time but not any flavor. Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, kale, and peas keep the dish feeling (and tasting) fresh.
Veggies of choice: Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, kale, peas
FARMER'S MARKET GOAT CHEESE PASTA PRIMAVERA
When you get farmers market fresh veggies, it's sometimes not even worth cooking them before putting them in your pasta. To maximize the flavor, though, it's best to marinate all your vegetables first in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh herbs of your choice so that they soften up (and so the goodness is maximized). Cooked fettuccine then gets topped with all the above, some goat cheese, and fresh arugula and toasted almonds and dinner is served.
Veggies of choice: Corn, yellow squash, bell pepper, zucchini, artichokes
The next time you go to the farmers market, bring home some finds to make your own pasta primavera. We encourage you to mix and match vegetables to find your favorite combination.