Pasta Primavera: the delicious, fresh veggie pasta dish perfect for spring

Total time: 35 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

When you're in the mood for a comforting, easy to make, hearty vegetarian dish, nothing hits the spot like homemade pasta primavera. This creamy pasta dish is packed with a rainbow of nutritious vegetables, tender pasta, and has a zesty, bright flavor with a subtle kick of heat thanks to the addition of red chili flakes.

Pasta primavera is so easy to customize and the homemade version takes a million times better than anything you'd get at Domino's or Olive Garden. Add your favorite veggies, spices, and seasonings to make a delicious pasta primavera that's unique to your kitchen!

What is Pasta Primavera?

You might think pasta primavera is an Italian dish, but you'd be mistaken. This mouthwatering pasta recipe originated in the 1970s. It was created by Sirio Maccioni for his famous New York City restaurant, Le Cirque.

The dish consists of lightly sautéed vegetables which are added to a combination of cooked pasta and shelled peas, then tossed with a light creamy citrusy sauce. Some versions add a pinch of chili flakes for a hint of spice, and the exact vegetables used vary from recipe to recipe.

Pasta primavera is Italian for “spring pasta”, a reference to the delicious variety of fresh vegetables used to make the dish.

What is the Best Pasta for Pasta Primavera?

You can use pretty much any type of pasta to make pasta primavera. Penne, farfalle, rigatoni, and fusilli are all popular options. You can also make pasta primavera with fettuccine, spaghetti, or tagliatelle. Use your favorite type of pasta, and you can't go wrong!

Pasta Primavera Vegetables

Most versions of pasta primavera use some combination of bell peppers, squash or zucchini, and tomatoes, with asparagus, broccoli, leeks, spinach, and corn being other options.

You can also try adding mushrooms, artichoke hearts, fava beans, and carrots to the dish. Add your family's favorite veggies to the dish for a tasty dish everyone will love.

How to Make Pasta Primavera

Making homemade pasta primavera couldn't be easier, and the best part is that it only takes about half an hour or so to prep and cook. Ready to get started? Here's how to make creamy pasta primavera.

Boiling the Pasta

Your first step is to cook the pasta. Make the pasta according to the directions on the package. Cook it to al dente, then drain it and set it off to the side.

Sauteing the Vegetables

Next up, it's time to cook the veggies. Sauté the asparagus, broccoli, and bell pepper for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Stir in the zucchini, and cook for another minute or two. The vegetables should be starting to soften, but still be a bit crispy. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the veggies, stir, then place vegetables on a plate.

Tossing Pasta and Vegetables

Now it's time to make the sauce. Melt the butter in the pan and sauté the shallot and garlic over medium heat for 2 minutes. Mix in the lemon zest and broth, then simmer until the liquid reduces by half. Add in the heavy cream and two tablespoons of lemon juice.

Take the peas and sautéed vegetables and add them to the pasta. Toss everything well so the veggies are evenly distributed through the pasta. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to combine. Add in the parmesan, followed by the tomatoes and basil. Garnish with parsley, and serve with some garlic bread and a green salad.


Can You Add Chicken or Shrimp to Pasta Primavera?

Absolutely! You can easily add chicken, shrimp, or sausage to your pasta primavera for an ultra-hearty dish. For more flavor, swap out the vegetable broth for chicken broth.

Pasta Primavera Variations

There are loads of variations of pasta primavera you can try. You can make vegan pasta primavera by leaving out the heavy cream. Another vegan option is to make a red sauce with tomatoes rather than use heavy cream.

Add in chicken, meat, or shrimp for a heartier version. In summer, you can add seasonal summery veggies to your primavera, like summer squash, eggplant, carrots, cauliflower, or fennel. Get creative!

What to Serve with Pasta Primavera

Pasta primavera is fantastic with a side of homemade garlic bread or crusty Italian bread, a green salad, garlic knots, or Caesar salad.

You can also serve it with some bruschetta or cheese bread.

Tips for the Best Pasta Primavera

If you don't like spice, you can leave out the chili flakes.

Use any combination of fresh vegetables that you like.

If you don't have fresh veggies on hand, frozen vegetables are a suitable substitute, however, fresh vegetables will give you the best flavor.

Don't overcook the vegetables. They should still have a bit of crunch to them.

Don't overcook your pasta. Aim for al dente, tender yet firm.

Remember to season the water with salt before you start cooking the pasta.

How to Store Pasta Primavera

Let the pasta cool down slightly, then place it in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

16 oz
Olive oil
1 tbsp
asparagus, diced
8 oz
yellow bell pepper, diced
small broccoli florets
2 cups
small zucchini, chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
Unsalted butter
2 tbsp
shallot, minced
Garlic cloves, minced
zest of 1 lemon
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Vegetable broth
1 cup
Heavy Cream
1/2 cup
lemon juice, divided
3 tbsp
Frozen peas
1 cup
shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup
halved grape tomatoes
1 1/2 cups
chopped basil
1/4 cup
Italian parsley
2 tbsp


Boil salted water in a large pot. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the packet for al dente. Drain, and set aside.

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the asparagus, broccoli, and bell pepper for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the zucchini. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes, or until just starting to soften. Add salt and pepper, stir, then place vegetables on a plate.

Melt the butter in the pan. Sauté the shallot and garlic over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add in lemon zest and broth. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add in the heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Add the peas to the drained pasta. Mix in the sautéed vegetables. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Toss to combine. Add in the parmesan, followed by the tomatoes and basil. Garnish with parsley, and serve.


Don't forget to garnish your pasta primavera with some extra parmesan cheese and chili flakes.

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