Having survived my first brutal winter in NYC, in 1977, I remember being so relieved when the magnolia tree outside my window started blooming its deep pink blossoms. I was a single girl in NYC living in the West Village. I had very little money, and I was happy when I had a date for dinner and he took me to a very fancy Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. The restaurant was Parioli Romanissimo. I remember perusing the menu and noticing so many pastas that I had never seen before. I decided to order the pasta primavera. It was spring and I wanted to taste it on my fork.
It was angel hair pasta back then which is traditional for a primavera. I loved every morsel; and I went home and tried to recreate it in my tiny kitchen. I still make this dish today and I use whole-wheat pasta, which is healthier for you. I add spring peas, asparagus, mushrooms, sage, and lemon zest for the perfect healthy spring pasta primavera! I hope you will try it and let me know how it goes.
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- 1 pint baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound whole wheat penne
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into thirds
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 6 ounces fresh English peas
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup vegetable or chicken stock
- ¼ cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
- Salt and pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on medium heat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sautée pan on high heat, add mushrooms, salt, cook until golden brown about 5-6 minutes.
- Add garlic & sage, season with salt and pepper, cook for another minute. Reserve in a bowl.
- Drop pasta into boiling water. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, in the same sautée pan, add 1 tablespoon of butter and sautée asparagus for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
- Add peas, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add mushroom mixture, lemon juice, and stock, reduce for 2 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the pan along with some of the shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir well. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Plate and garnish with lemon zest, and the rest of the shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.