Pasta Primavera with Fresh Basil3:19 AM
I always love this time of the year and loving it more here in Kolkata. The weather is pleasant with bright sunny days and soothing nights. There is a crispness in the air which makes it impossible for us to stay home in the evening. All we want is to go out and enjoy the fresh air. Though that is not much possible in a crowded city like Kolkata still we are going out every evening to have a walk around the locality.
Another thing that brings cheer to me is the fresh winter vegetables that have started appearing in the market. Though in this age of preservation almost everything is available the yaer around yet there is something special about the seasonal fresh produce. I love roaming around the local vegetable and fish market, touching and smelling just from the farm greens and vegetables.
All these together make me crave some fresh flavours and light saucy meals, which could be enjoyed while watching our favourite Programs. So this weekend when I found some fresh basil in our local Spencer's I instantly knew what I am going to make. So Pasta Primavera it was for us that night with loads of fresh basil thrown in for that heady aroma. I paired that flavour with some freshly squeezed lemon juice…together they were refreshingly comforting.
Pasta Primavera is an Italian –American dish where loads of crisp spring vegetables are added to the pasta. Primavera means spring so its wise to choose crisp fresh vegetables like broccoli, carrots, beans, onions, corns etc. The flavours here are kept very simple and mostly are finished with sprinkling of fresh Parmesan cheese. Our kid is a sucker of cheese and he could eat it as is. I chose an array of fresh vegetables including new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, beans, fresh corn, capsicum, carrots, onion and loads of garlic. Here is how I did…
Pasta Primavera with Fresh Basil
Spaghetti: one packet
New potatoes: handful
Beans: 7-8 pieces
Corn: 1/3 cup
Cherry tomatoes: handful
Broccoli florets: ½ cup
Onion: 1 big
Garlic: 4-5 fat cloves
Fresh basil: 1 cup; loosely packed
Lemon: 1 big
Olive oil: 3 tbsp
Grated Parmesan cheese: ¼ cup
First prepare the vegetables. Wash them thoroughly under running water.
Peel the carrot and slice them in half moon shape.
Wash the baby potatoes and slice them in thick rounds.
Cut small florets of broccoli.
Cut the capsicum in thin slices.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
Cut beans in long pieces.
Chop onion in thick half moon shape.
Finely chop garlic and basil.
Keep everything separate.
In a big bowl blanch broccoli, potato, corn, carrot and beans with little salt for 4 minutes till they are tender yet crisp. I used my trusted microwave for this.
In a big bowl take lots of water and cook the spaghetti or any other variety of pasta according to the packaged instruction. Reserve 1/3 cup of pasta boiling water. Drain the spaghetti.
While the spaghetti is boiling start making the sauce. Heat oil in a big pan.
Add chopped garlic and chili flakes. Fry till the garlicky aroma hits you. Immediately tip in the onions and fry for a minute.
Drain the blanched vegetables and add in. Sprinkle little salt and sauté on medium for 2 minutes.
Add the capsicum, tomatoes and half of the chopped basil.
Again sauté for 2-3 minutes till the skin of the tomatoes start to shrink.
Tip in the drained spagetti. Give it a good mix with all the vegetables.
Squeeze the lemon and also add the cooking liquid. Adjust the salt.
Sprinkle the rest of the basil, grated parmesan cheese and little chili flakes.
Mix and serve hot.
You can also add mushrooms, olives, zucchini, spinach etc to make it vibrant and nutritious.
Pour some good extra virin olive oil just before serving the dish. It brings out the fresh flavours of the basil and veggies.
Non-vegetarians can also add sausage, chicken bits or roasted fish.
If you like roast vegetables try roasting the vegetables with little salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil in an 150C preheated oven. Boil the pasta separately and finally toss everything together with lots of parmesan cheese and olive oil.
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