Have you heard of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks? If you have a vegetarian friend (or you are a vegetarian) who likes to cook, then you probably have. I can’t believe how many vegetarians in the last week have recommended various Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks to me. I think it’s time to go cookbook shopping. (Click here to read more about this interesting restaurant.)
My friend Nikki made Pasta Primavera for us one night and it was divine. I couldn’t wait to get the recipe and she happily shared. It’s from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook, which she said is her favorite of their books. If you want to buy it, click here.
Let me warn you, this dish is a labor of love. Chopping all those vegetables takes time…especially if you add more vegetables than the recipe calls for like I did. But it is an excellent dish, is super healthy, and if you’re only feeding 4 people like me you will have tons of leftovers. Blanching the vegetables as indicated in the recipe makes for perfectly cooked veggies.
One more quick tip…I had some Tuscan Tomato Soup leftover when I made this pasta. Pouring a bit of that soup over the pasta was oh so good.
From the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites (with Jane and Nikki notes)
- 6 garlic cloves (Nikki sometimes uses more)
- 2 tsp olive oil (Nikki sometimes uses more, I think I did more like 2 Tbsp.)
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 – 1 tsp salt (I’ve added this because it definitely need more salt, and if you add at this point with the sauce I think it will diffuse through the ingredients better than seasoning at the end)
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil leaves (slice them crosswise)
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
- 1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (Nikki leaves this out, I kept it in)
- Handful snow peas, cut in half width-wise (Nikki & Jane addition)
- Handful sugar snap peas, cut in half width-wise (Jane addition)
- Handful green beans, cut into 2-inch lenth pieces (Nikki and Jane addition)
- 2 small zucchini, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (Nikki likes summer squash better)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pound fettuccine or butterfly pasta (farfalle)
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Bring a covered pot of water large enough to accommodate a colander or steamer basket to a boil (neither Nikki nor I have one of these setups, so we use a slotted spoon to scoop the veggies out of the hot water when it’s time). Meanwhile, saute the garlic and oil in a saucepan for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and salt and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the basil and red onions, cover, and remove from the heat.
When the water is boiling, blanch the vegetables. (If you prefer to steam the vegetables, allow 3 minutes between each addition of vegetables). Put the carrots in first. After 1 minute, add the asparagus and bell peppers (if doing snow peas, sugar snap peas and/or green beans, toss them in at this point). After another minute, add the zucchini (or summer squash) and peas. Cook for 1 minute more and then lift out the colander and all of the vegetables and set aside to drain. Reserve the pot of boiling water for cooking the pasta. Stir the vegetables into the tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper (if needed). Cover and set aside.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the reserved cooking water and 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese. Top with the tomato-vegetable sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.