Our Creamy Pasta Primavera combines fresh pasta, springtime vegetables and prosciutto in a creamy, flavorful sauce.
After a recent trip to the supermarket, my husband Jack returned to our house, inspired by all sorts of fresh, springtime produce — and that’s how this Creamy Pasta Primavera recipe came to be.
What is Pasta Primavera?
In Italian, the word primavera means ‘spring-style’ and with foods, it typically refers to fresh, springtime vegetables.
Pasta Primavera, which combines pasta and fresh vegetables, is an Italian-American dish believed to have originated in the 1970’s at the Le Cirque restaurant in New York City. It gained even greater popularity in 1977 after an article in the New York Times included a recipe for this delicious dish. Fast forward to today, and there are so many variations of Pasta Primavera — but the constants are pasta combined with fresh vegetables.
How you do you make Creamy Pasta Primavera?
Our Creamy Pasta Primavera is different from other recipes in that we made a rich and luscious cream sauce infused with pureed leeks, yellow bell pepper and garlic.
We tossed fresh fettucine pasta in the sauce, along with asparagus and shaved ribbons of carrots and zucchini. (The carrots and zucchini were quickly blanched in hot water to cook just to an al dente level of doneness.)
Strips of cooked, salty prosciutto and onions were also added to the Creamy Pasta Primavera, and fresh lemon zest and cracked black pepper finished things off.
Serve your Creamy Pasta Primavera on a platter lined with fresh watercress or other favorite, fresh greens. We also added some torn leaves of fresh mint on top for even more springtime flavor, as well some grated Parmesan cheese for garnish.
This Creamy Pasta Primavera is almost too pretty to eat —but you should devour it anyway! 😊
You may enjoy these other Pasta dishes:
- Pasta Primavera
- Straw and Hay (Paglia e Fieno)
- Fettuccine in Cream, Tomato & Basil Sauce
- Linguine with White Clam Sauce
- Creamed Salmon and Peas Over Linguini
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped leeks (white only cleaned of sand)
1 large yellow bell pepper chopped (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups heavy cream
1 bunch asparagus
2 medium carrots
1 medium zucchini
4 ounces prosciutto
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sweet onion cut into medium strips
1 pound fresh fettuccini
Zest from half a lemon
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh watercress, rinsed and spun dry
12 mint leaves
Grated Parmesan cheese, as garnish
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the three tablespoons of the olive oil along with the leeks, yellow pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for ten minutes, stirring often. Add the heavy cream, heat to a simmer then lower heat to a low simmer and cook for five more minutes.
Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender and set aside.
Place a 5-quart pan on with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add a few teaspoons of kosher salt.
While the water is heating, prepare the vegetables.
Break off and discard asparagus ends. Then snap off tips but do not discard. Take the remaining stalk and if large, cut into quarters the long way, medium cut in half the long way and if small, leave whole. Set these and tips aside.
Peel carrots then slice into thin long slices on a mandolin. Lay flat and cut further into long strips. Set aside.
Slice zucchini on mandolin into long flat strips. Lay the strips stacked then slice into strips about the same width as the fettuccini. Set aside.
Lay the prosciutto stacked and slice into strips then cross ways into pieces.
Meanwhile, place a large saute pan over medium heat and add the two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and the prosciutto and cook for three to four minutes until the onions are tender.
When the water boils and has been salted, add the asparagus stems and tips and cook for less than a minute. Use a spider or type of strainer and remove asparagus from the water and add the to the pan with the onions.
Do the same for the carrots and zucchini, dipping in the boiling water for less than a minute and adding to the pan.(*See Notes below)
Once the water is back to boiling, add the fettuccini and cook slightly less than al dente, about 1-2 minutes. Add this to the pan with the vegetables.
Pour in the reserved yellow sauce along with enough pasta water to smooth out the mixture, about a cup or more.
Once hot, remove from heat and add lemon zest and black pepper.
Place the watercress on a platter and pour over the pasta and vegetables.
Tear fresh mint over the top and shave or grate fresh Parmesan cheese.
Vegetables should be slightly blanched and have some snap to them.
Leftover pasta water can be used to thin out the mixture if it gets too thick or to reheat leftovers.