Saturday, July 9, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Vegetable Primavera Pasta

This is one of my favorite dishes, and it has a lot of room for switching up the base vegetables you want to use.  I used to try to meal plan before heading to the store, but I watched a show where Cat Cora helped a mother meal plan and suggested she go to the store to see what was in season and on sale.  I don't know why I didn't think about that before, but now I'm walking into the produce section with that in mind.  Having said that, yellow squash and small, spring zucchini were on sale, so I grabbed a couple for this recipe! 

I have to be honest.  This recipe is kind of a take off of a Giada recipe where she cooked squash and sausage together, before tossing it with bowtie pasta.  I made that original recipe with turkey sausage, red pepper flakes, and a lot of garlic, but found that if we removed the pasta and sausage, that it was still a great side dish.  Enough rambling on my part.  Let me get to the recipe!

Vegetable Primavera Pasta

3 Cups of sliced small yellow squash & zucchini
1 red pepper, diced (optional)
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced (to your tastes)
red pepper flakes (to taste)
3 tbsp Olive Oil + additional as needed in sauteing
1/4 C. cream  (optional) 
3 C. cooked pasta
Top with Parmesean cheese

Slice up the vegetables in similar size and thickness.  Heat a large, non-stick frying pan to medium high heat.  Toss in the olive oil, followed by the red pepper flakes to quickly infuse the oil with its heat.  Quickly add vegetables and garlic to saute until nearly tender.  You can add a few tablespoons of water at this point to gently loosen any bits stuck to the pan. 

If you want a creamier finish, add some cream at the end and incorporate with the vegetables with some salt and pepper to finish off.  If you want a lighter, equally as delicious version you can finish it off with a 1/4 of chicken stock or white wine.  To this cooked vegetable base, toss in 3 C. of cooked pasta.  Bowtie, penne, or even a stuffed pasta generally make the best choice (something with a larger surface to catch any sauce and to go with the vegetable chunks), but use what you have!  As you can see, I used fresh ravioli that was on sale. Finish off with some fresh Parmesan and freshly cracked pepper.  Buon apetito!

Leftover Alert:  This tends to soak up any liquid you have leftover, so it's a bit drier when you go to heat it up again.  If I know I'm going to pack it up for leftovers, I sometimes add a bit more broth or water before I finish it off.  Yes, it makes it a little looser for your first meal, but if you serve it with a slotted spoon, leaving the sauce in the pan, then you have plenty of liquid to get you through your leftovers.

Other Optional Veggies for Recipe Base:  mushrooms, asparagus, carrots (but be careful, because their sweetness can be odd), a diced tomato, spinach, peas, and it always tastes great with a chiffonade of fresh basil!  Dare I admit that it also tastes great to cut up some sliced bacon and use it with the olive oil to get things started?  Yes, it's really good!

For more weekend cooking, go to Beth Fish Reads.  You'll find all sorts of great food-related posts and recipes!


  1. I'm always on the lookout for good vegetarian recipes, and this looks yummy. Thanks for the tip about adding the liquid if there are to be leftovers!

  2. One of these days I need to go through this feature and get some new food ideas...

  3. Looks delicious! And everything tastes better with bacon. :)

  4. I love dishes like this where you can use all sorts of veggies. A great way to use up what's in the frig.

  5. My kind of meal! I pretty much never go to the store with any kind of recipe in mind. I tend to buy what looks fresh and good, and then go home and figure out what to make. Some variation of your dish is likely to become a staple around here.

  6. This sounds good :) I need to see if I can get my hands on Yellow Squash over here. I never heard of it.

  7. Pasta with veggies is the "recipe" that makes my CSA box work. I often roast the veggies so that they are pre-cooked before starting and everything gets thrown together at the last minute while the pasta is cooking. It takes longer but I can do other kitchen chores while the vegetables are roasting and it seems to fit in well with my day. We have this twice a week during the peak summer vegetable season.

  8. The Book Girl & Caite--This one is a really great way to get those veggies in. That's why I love it too! I'm glad I could share it! :)

    Kailana--There are some great weekend cooking posts. I don't always get to them, but I love seeing what others are cooking up.

    Heidenkind--Amen! :) Isn't it strange that bacon and peas make a great pasta combo?

    Beth--I'm glad! You'll have to share your variation; I'd love to see it. It does sound like the "see what's in season" shopping style isn't just me. I'm not always able to think of something on my feet, but I can definitely look things up when I get home. Like right now, I LOVE all the fruit that's in season!

    Uniflame--Oh, I wonder what else it would be called? It's just a small, crook-necked version of squash, but has the same flesh as zuchinni. I wish I knew other varieties! It's SO good though in this recipe.

    Joy Weese Moll--Roasting the veg first is a GREAT idea. I've done that with the red peppers, and I imagine you could do that with something like eggplant? That's a great variation I forgot to mention, so thanks for reminding me! :)