Pasta Primavera

I was at a local restaurant the other day and remember they made a Pasta Primavera that I was obsessed with that is no longer on their menu. Years ago I had written out a list of ingredients and how I thought they made it, but lost it, so haven’t made in a while.

When I was at the restaurant, I asked the waitress, and she said she remembered it, and that they would probably make it for me. So, I ordered it. Unfortunately, it was not the same recipe as the one I remember. There was way too much fresh cheese in it and it turned out to be an oily, greasy unappetizing mess.

So, the next day I started writing down what I remembered years ago. The recipe is pretty basic though.

You can use any vegetables you like. Just remember to start cooking the veggies that will take a longer time like carrots, broccoli stems, mushrooms, onion, green pepper, and save the more delicate ones like zucchini, summer squash and broccoli heads to saute at the end for much less time.

The possibilities of veggies for this dish are endless:

Green or any color Bell Pepper
Carrots (matchsticks or thinly sliced)
Summer Squash
Cherry or Plum Tomatoes

I like Primavera to be mainly pasta and veggies with a low volume of sauce. I used two good sized garlic cloves in this recipe. For people that are not over the top about garlic, that is probably sufficient. But I am over the top about garlic, so next time I will put three good sized cloves. I started with 1/4 cup of really good extra virgin olive oil and ended up adding a little shy of another 1/4 cup towards the end. It’s just a matter of preference.

You can use any pasta, but I opted for Pastene’s nested fettuccine. It’s fairly thin and light compared to the boxed fettuccine. I just prefer it, but you could use anything.

Before you start cooking the veggies, prepare a pan with salted water and boil. While pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables. 

The method is super easy:

Heat a large pan of water for fettuccine. When water boils blanch broccoli in water just until it turns bright green. Using a spider, scoop the broccoli out of the water and place in a bowl of ice water. After a minuter or so, take out of water and drain on paper towels.

Bring water back to a boil and cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Do not rinse.

Saute a 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic cloves until garlic is just starting to cook. Make sure you’re light is low and you do not turn the garlic brown. Browned garlic is horrible and ruins your recipe. If this happens clean your pan and start again.

Add the veggies that take longer to cook (in my case I left out the zuchini and brocoli florets) and mix in with the oil garlic mixture. Cook on medium heat until veggies are crisp tender.

Then add in the more delicate veggies (the zucchini and broccoli florets). Cook until those are crisp tender.

Add the drained fettuccine to the vegetable mixture. Mix together.

Plate pasta and sprinkle with a little fresh grated Parmesan cheese. If you have the means, throw under the broiler for a few minutes to slightly melt the cheese. The melted cheese give it a slightly crunchy, nutty flavored topping.

I don’t put any cheese in the mixture as I like the pasta to remain light. I just top it and melt a little under the broiler.

History of Pasta Primavera:

In researching where Pasta Primavera came from, I found that it came from restaurateur Sirio Maccioni of French restaurant Le Cirque in New York City in the 70’s. Apparently, Sirio was on a vacation in 1975 to Prince Edward Island with colleagues (including Craig Claiborne of the New York Times). After eating Wild Boar and Lobster for a week, everyone was asking for pasta. Sirio set out to make two dishes, one with vegetables, one Alfredo style. But in the end he mixed it all together, vegetables with spaghetti and cream. After Claiborne wrote about it in the Times, people started going to Le Cirque and asking for spaghetti alla primavera. But Sirio’s French chef said he did not want spaghetti in his kitchen. So to save a crisis, Sirio started making it tableside. It was never put on the menu, but people would ask for it. 

Hense, the world famous Pasta Primavera was born!

Then I started thinking, that I have the Pasta Primavera recipe from Le Cirque! I cut it out of a magazine years ago.

There are numerous ways to make Pasta Primavera, all sound incredibly delicious! I think I will try Sirio’s version next! I can’t believe I have saved this recipe for years and never made it!

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Pasta Primavera

  • Author: Afoodieaffair


Delicious fresh vegetables with oil and garlic tossed in fettuccine. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese that is slightly melted, give it a nutty flavor. Super quick and simple to make. Perfect to use up leftover vegetables in your fridge.



1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided into two 1/4 cup portions
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced in bite sized pieces
20 small mushrooms, sliced (I use Baby Bella)
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced into thick slices
2 handfuls of slivered carrots or 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 onion, halved and very thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces (blanched in the pasta water before the pasta is added)
1 lb fettuccine, cooked and drained
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley or 1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Fresh Parmesan, finely grated, just enough to slightly top the pasta dish


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for fettuccine.

When water boils add broccoli and blanch for just a couple minutes until broccoli turns bright green. Remove from pan with a spider and place in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Remove from ice water and place on a paper towel. Set aside until ready to saute.

Bring pasta water to a boil and cook fettuccine according to package directions and drain. Do not rinse. Set aside. Save about a cup of pasta water.

On a medium heat, place olive oil in a skillet until heated.

Add garlic and saute until just becoming fragrant. Remove from heat.

Add a little more olive oil and add mushrooms, green pepper, carrots and onion. Saute until crisp tender. Add to the plate with the mushrooms.

Add a little more oil to the skillet and add brocolli florets and zucchini. Saute until crisp tender.

Put all of the ingredients back into the skillet.

Add butter, parsley salt and pepper.

Add a little pasta water or olive oil if you need to thin some, but you don’t want to over sauce the pasta. 

Place on individual oven proof serving dishes. Grate some fresh Parmesan cheese on the top of each dish. Place in the broiler for just a few minutes until cheese melts slightly.


Make sure not to burn the garlic. If it turns brown, IMO it’s burnt. If this happens just throw out, clean pan and start again. It’s better to throw out a little garlic than ruin the entire recipe.

I use Baby Bella mushrooms as I prefer them basically for their appearance in this dish. You can use any mushrooms you prefer.



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