Friday, May 20, 2011

Pasta Primavera Recipe

Sadly, I've made a myriad of failed attempts at cooking lately.  I've been using a cooking magazine that shall remain nameless (who says you can't link to something you're not naming?) and the results have been, well, mostly bad.

Last week I swore off the aforementioned but entirely unnamed cooking magazine and turned to a much more trustworthy source--a stack of Cook's Country magazines I picked up at the Goodwill a couple years back.  This magazine is from the editors of Cook's Illustrated, and they're the same people behind my now-favorite cookbook, The New Best Recipe.  How could I go wrong?

Well, lots of ways.  But that's not the point.

I settled on a recipe for pasta primavera, something I'm not sure I've even eaten at a restaurant before.  But it looked yummy in the picture and the directions seemed doable, even for one as kitchen challenged as me.

And I was certainly not disappointed with the end result.  After such dismal dinners for the past number of weeks, this one was an absolute delight.  And the concept of cooking the vegetables right alongside the pasta?  Brilliant.  I will definitely be making this again.

And maybe next time I'll take a picture before I eat it all.  Maybe.

Easy Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
8 ounces white mushrooms, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces), drained
1 cup heavy cream

12 ounces egg-enriched dried fettuccine [See note below]
1 pound asparagus, tough ends discarded, spears cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil

Directions:
  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot for cooking pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat until foaming.  Add onion, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until soft and browned, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes and cream, increase heat to high, bring to a boil, and remove pan from heat.
  3. As sauce cooks, add 2 tablespoons salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes [See note below].  Add asparagus to pot and cook for 1 minute.  Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes.  Add peas and cook until pasta is al dente, about 1 minute.
  4. Drain pasta and vegetables and return to pot.  Toss in sauce, cheese, lemon juice, and basil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve, passing extra cheese at the table.
Makes 4 generous servings.

Taken from Cook’s Country magazine, 2006

Note:  I couldn’t find the egg-enriched dried fettuccine at my grocery store, so I just used 12 ounces of a 1-pound package of dried fettuccine.  The overall cooking time for my fettuccine was listed as 13 minutes, so I cooked it 9 minutes before adding the asparagus and then continued with the recipe.

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