T’s Pasta Primavera

This is an easy but impressive and colorful dish for a summer menu. “Primavera” means “spring” in Italian. So the name of the dish makes one think of warmer weather and gardens. The dish is more Italian American than Italian, as it was invented here in the 1970’s. There are debates to this day as to exactly where the recipe was created and perfected, but most articles trace it back to New York City. It can be served hot or just slightly warmed. Some recipes call for roasting the veggies in the oven, but I think there is more flavor to be had by sautéing them at high heat on the stove, and then adding the pasta in for final few minutes of cooking.

For a main meal add some diced chicken, or another protein such as grilled shrimp. You might also want to cook up some Italian sausage to throw in the pasta dish or serve on the side. To save yourself some time, wash and trim the vegetables beforehand.

Double the recipe for a larger crowd, but this should easily serve at least four people. Accompanied by a nice tossed green salad, some crusty Italian bread, and of course some vino such as a Pinot Grigio, you will have your guests saying “fantastico.”


  • One pound of your favorite pasta (Farfalle aka butterfly pasta works well)
  • 2-4 cups of fresh summer veggies (red, yellow bell peppers, fresh or frozen peas, zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, or whatever is fresh and available but make sure you use different colors for a true primavera)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh crushed garlic (or more depending on your taste)
  • One tablespoon dried parsley or fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted chicken broth
  • Splash or two of white wine
  • Grated Cheese to taste (I prefer grated Parmesan Reggiano or Locatelli Pecorino Romano)


  • Begin to cook the pasta according to directions. Make sure to salt the pasta water.
  • In a large fry pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic until just tender. Do not overcook or burn.
  • Add vegetables, chicken broth, and a splash of white wine.
  • Add the seasonings and cook the veggies until just tender.
  • Remove the pasta before fully cooked and add to the pan with the vegetable mixture.
  • Toss so the pasta is coated with the vegetables and broth.
  • Add a bit of pasta water to thicken the sauce and/or extra grated cheese if necessary for consistency.
  • Cook until the pasta is al dente.
  • Add more cheese if desired as well as a few sprinkles of black pepper for an extra kick.


Photo: Liliya Kandrashevich/Shutterstock