Pasta Primavera is a favourite once a year recipe in my kitchen. Once a year I say because in the 1980’s when I became enamoured with homemade pasta and trying all the Italian dishes I read about, North America decided that fat was bad for us. That meant that all the dishes I loved that were loaded with butter, cheese and whipping cream suddenly got moved to my list of special occasion dinners. But this Pasta Primavera recipe has remained at the top of my list of favourites.
The velvety smooth sauce in this recipe is simple yet decadent. It is the same sauce that makes Fettuccini Alfredo but I prefer primavera with the addition of fresh vegetables. Apparently the North American version added whipping cream to the original Italian sauce made simply with butter and Parmesan cheese. When you’re talking pasta, I think you just can’t go wrong with those three ingredients; butter, Parmesan cheese and whipping cream.
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Good Fat, Bad Fat and Pasta Primavera
I’m not qualified to speak on the finer details of healthy eating but clearly the advice to eat low fat everything did not decrease rates of obesity or result in a healthier population. The new thinking is that dietary fat (butter, cream and cheese) does not make us fat. It will take decades to sort this out and we’ll all be eating three meals a day while this goes on. For me I plan to enjoy the occasional pasta dish with a rich and creamy sauce like this Pasta Primavera and I might even do that more than once a year.
Homemade Gluten Free Pasta vs Store Bought
I’m sharing this Pasta Primavera recipe today written with store bought pasta in the ingredients although the photo shows my dish with homemade pasta. This was my first attempt at making gluten free pasta and it was delicious. The recipe still requires a few tweaks but when I’m happy with it I’ll share it here.
My first adventure into homemade pasta started decades ago when my husband bought me a little Italian cookbook and a pasta maker. That inspired years of learning Italian specialties and making homemade pasta. We worked our way cooking dishes from many regions of Italy and even included a visit to the town of Parma during one of our European vacations. I tried all sorts of pasta shapes but really got into a groove making homemade fettuccini. I have vivid memories of my old kitchen with all the lower cupboard doors open and fresh pasta hanging on them to dry. Oh what fun!
Eventually I expanded my culinary interests and regular pasta making became an occasional weekend project. Then came gluten free and homemade pasta seemed like a daunting challenge. Over the years the number of store bought gluten free pastas has increased and I just ignored the idea. But every time I hear celiacs talk about their Italian vacations and homemade pasta I am tempted.
My plan is always to eat my way to success. Stay tuned.
Get The Tools
For store bought pasta you need nothing more than your basic pots and pans. If you're going to make homemade pasta you need to buy a pasta machine. They're not terribly expensive and if you enjoy pasta it may become a fun dinner activity.
Do you have a list of your favourite dishes? I think of my favourite pasta dishes by season so when a new season comes I have recipes to try that I haven't had for a long time. These are some of my favourites that I often only make once or twice at a certain time of the year. For me this strategy keeps my meal rotation interesting.
Let me know in the comments below how you keep your dinners exciting.
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- 1 lb gluten free fettuccini
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 tomato, seeded and julienned
- 1 red pepper, julienned
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- 1 small zucchini, julienned
- ½ cup cauliflower florets
- ½ up broccoli florets
- ⅓ cup snow peas, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cups whipping cream*
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- FINISHING - Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper
- Melt butter in large sauté pan on medium heat.
- Add tomatoes, red pepper, carrot, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas and garlic. Sauté until softened, 5-7 minutes.
- Add whipping cream and cook until cream begins to bubble.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add cooked fettuccini and Parmesan cheese to sauce. Toss until heated through and cheese has melted.
- Garnish each serving with additional Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper.
- *Sauces made with whipping cream need salt. Like cooking with unsalted stocks you must taste the sauce to get the salt right.