meatless friday redesignThis dish is often served in the spring when spring's vegetables are just ripening in the garden. With the abundance of produce available in grocery stores, however, this dish is great all year 'round. And a plate of hot pasta is often just the thing for a Friday night dinner. Comforting and nutritious, this dish will warm your insides at the end of the week. For picky eaters, you can serve plain pasta, or pasta with just the cream sauce, and maybe some veggies to eat with fingers on the side. This is a lightened version of Pasta Primavera, but if you have no need to go light, feel free to use all or half cream instead of the half-and-half, and reduce or omit the cornstarch as necessary to thicken.

image credit Barbara Stein image credit Barbara Stein

Pasta Primavera

2 cups broccoli florets, cut small
1 small zucchini cut in quarters lengthwise, and then in ¼” segments
1 small yellow squash cut in quarters lengthwise, and then in ¼” segments
1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
8 oz. washed and quartered mushrooms
12 oz. fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti  (I used spaghetti because organic fettuccine was not available)
4 T. olive or grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup frozen green peas or edamame
1-⅓  cup half-and-half
2  teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup (1 ounce) shaved Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook according to package directions, or until al dente.

In a large skillet, bring an inch or so of salted water to boil over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and carrots; cook 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add squash and cook for another few minutes until squash is tender. Drain vegetables into a colander.

Meanwhile, heat another skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 T. oil. When hot, add mushrooms and cook until slightly browned and tender. Remove from heat.

In a jar or bowl, whisk cornstarch into half-and-half. Set aside.

Replace skillet to stove and medium-high heat. Add remaining oil and when hot, add garlic and crushed red pepper. Let cook until garlic is fragrant and bubbly. Add peas or edamame. Cook for a minute and then add half and half mixture. Let mixture come to a simmer and thicken slightly. Add salt and reduce heat to medium-low. Add drained vegetables.

Drain pasta well and add to skillet with vegetables and half-and-half. Toss with a pair of tongs until pasta and vegetables are incorporated. Add half the Parmesan cheese, then plate, topping each portion with more Parmesan and basil.

Serve with a loaf of good bread and a green salad.

You can find all our Meatless Friday featured recipes here.
Copyright 2015 Barbara Stein
Photo copyright 2015 Barbara Stein. All rights reserved.