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Lost Pasta Recipe. Maybe you can help!

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Hello everyone,

I haven't joined before now because so far the answer to every question I've had has been at Chowhound. I'm also somewhat of a neophyte foodie, as it were.

I'm searching for a pasta recipe that meets these requirements:

I think it was linguine, but it could have been angel hair. It definitely had yellow or orange bell pepper in it, and asparagus. There was also prosciutto or pancetta, but I may have added that myself. I may also have added the asparagus, but I don't think so. The final product included a bit of pasta water and cheese (probably Reggiano, which is what I bought.) It may or may not have included white wine. (I would prefer if it did...)

Yeah, so I practically have it, right? My issue is that I'm not familiar with "sauceless" pastas, and I want to make sure tonight's pasta is as good as the other one was. The vegetables were tender-crisp but didn't taste raw, and everything blended really well together. I'm sure it's a matter of the order of ingredients and cooking times. Help me get it together? Thank you!

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  1. Welcome to CH, and good on you for first searching for the info you need before starting a thread!

    What you describe seems to be a type of Pasta Primavera. There are lots of possibilities and you can choose whatever type of pasta you like. Angel hair would provide a stronger textural contrast with the crisp-tender vegetables than would linguine but you can use anything from couscous to rigatoni.

    Bell pepper will soften with just a quick saute but chances are the asparagus was blanched or briefly steamed to par-cook it first, then added to the peppers to finish with sauteeing. You should start with gently sweating minced, sliced, or crushed garlic in olive oil, as well as onion or shallot. Add the meat, increase the heat a bit, and stir to brown the edges a bit. Once that happens, add the peppers and asparagus, When they are just about tender enough, add white wine and switch to higher heat to boil off the alcohol. Then turn off the burner, add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix, adding spoonfuls of hot pasta water as necessary to create a little "sauce". Cheese goes in last. Taste for salt and pepper (black or crushed red).

    10 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Thank you! That sounds about like what I did before, I think. Oh, if I don't want to use late asparagus, and use skinny French green beans, should I steam them first too?

      1. re: midnightferret

        When I do Primavera, I steam all the green vegetables and add them towards the end, so you can control the doneness beforehand. I do asparagus, AND green beans, plus zuccini, mushroom and whatever else, but then plate the pasta topped with a tomato-ey pesto type topping. (In case you want to branch out someday!) FWIW I always use fetticini, lots of veggies call for a broad pasta in my book. Oh just to be totally crazy, I occasionally use gin rather than wine, it's a nice change of pace. I didn't have anything else on hand the first time and it went over quite well.

        1. re: coll

          Awesome. I don't make pasta a great deal anymore. I used to make some kind of pasta+sauce+veggies-and-or-meat/poultry/fish dish at least once a week, because I grew up eating that way. Now we're all "healthy" and I'm too darn short to eat pasta as much as I used to and not gain weight anyway. I can't resist having a "make-my-own-pesto night" and then having a "putting-pesto-on-everything week," though. Hehehe.

          I didn't know this pasta had a name... hehe. I always associated Primavera with squash because my mom always made it with zucchini and eggplant, among other things, two of my arch-nemeses (although I keep trying to eat them and like them to no avail. I can't figure out why).

          1. re: midnightferret

            I have the same problem, getting old sucks! I looked at my recipe before and saw I also put broccoli and snow peas in there. Then I serve it to my husband and he just eats the pasta and pesto topping.

            1. re: midnightferret

              Primavera means Spring in Italian, so it is generally made with peas, asparagus, and other early-season vegetables, but in America it has come to have a broader definition. Typically, it is vegetables other than tomato, with cheese and no actual sauce, sometimes with a little pork-derived meat (ham, prosciutto, pancetta....).

              1. re: greygarious

                I got my recipe from a ladies magazine many many years ago, and I seem to remember it saying that Pasta Primavera was invented at a famous restaurant in Manhattan, I believe Le Cirque of all places. The recipe I make is based on that one, tomato/pesto topping and all. Alll the vegetables are the ones they called for, although I don't go crazy if one or two is missing. No meat but some creamy sauce is involved.

                Hey guess what, I'm old but not totally senile yet!
                http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/mag...

                1. re: coll

                  Yes, Le Cirque (though I believe the creator was Italian). I didn't mean to imply that it's a traditional Italian dish, just that it means Spring. It's pretty ubiquitous these days, especially as a vegetarian option tacked on to the menus at many generic eateries.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Well the vegetables are all green, and that reminds me of St Patricks Day !

                    1. re: coll

                      All I know is that prosciutto and bell pepper goes together... :D

                      1. re: midnightferret

                        Proscuitto and everything goes together, my favorite cured meat. Just made grilled figs wrapped in proscuitto and and eating the leftovers now for breakfast, it's like candy! If it wasn't so expensive I'd throw it in everything.