Pasta Primavera

Circle B Kitchen


This is a Kenji Lopez-Alt recipe, which if you're familiar with his work, then you know that he sort of complicated this recipe as only his scientific mind can do.  That being said, as usual, it was delicious.  I have streamlined his scientific verbiage and made the recipe a little more user-friendly, I think, without sacrificing the flavors or the spirit of the original.  One of the things I changed was to toast the pine nuts in a dry pan rather than sauteeing them in butter.  Dry toasting assures that your pine nuts will stay crunchy.  If you'd like to see the original recipe, click on the link below.

Recipe Adapted from Serious Eats

4 cups of veggies (like asparagus, broccoli, broccolini, snap peas, snow peas, English peas, zucchini, etc)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 whole cloves garlic, lightly smashed with the side of a knife
3 ounces pine nuts
l lb pasta (fresh or dried - I used cavatappi)
6 oz creme fraiche
2 oz soft goat cheese 
2 teaspoons finely grated zest and 1 teaspoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves 
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves 
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

1.  Cut the vegetables into 1 to 2-inch pieces.  If using asparagus and snap peas, cut them on the diagonal.  You can slice broccoli and broccolini into small florets and zucchini into half moons. 

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath.   Blanche the vegetables in the boiling water for 1 minute, and using a spider or other strainer, transfer to the ice bath to cool, then transfer to a paper towel–lined tray and pat dry.  Empty pot, refill it with fresh water, season generously with salt, and return to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, place the pine nuts in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium high heat.  Toast the pine nuts, stirring often until they are a deep golden brown.  Remove to a dish.  

In the same skillet, heat butter, olive oil, garlic, over low heat until gently sizzling. Cook, swirling pan constantly, until the garlic aroma is very strong. Do not let butter brown; remove it from heat occasionally if it starts to sizzle too rapidly. When the garlic has taken on a little color, discard it and add blanched vegetables to pan and toss to combine. Remove from heat.

3. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook until just shy of al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Transfer pasta to pan with vegetables and add the goat cheese, crème fraîche, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, and parsley. Set over high heat and cook, stirring and tossing constantly and adjusting the consistency as necessary with a few splashes of the starchy pasta water, until liquid reduces to a creamy sauce. The sauce should coat the pasta and leave a creamy trail on the bottom of the pan when you drag a wooden spoon through it.

4. Off heat, stir in a generous shaving (or grating) of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.