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Fettuccine Primavera


Serves six.

  • by from Fresh SIP Spring/Summer 2006

This quintessential springtime pasta includes lots and lots of fresh herbs, as well as leafy greens. The specific vegetables and herbs used are up to you; choose what looks best at the market.

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. fettuccine
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups very thinly sliced mixed spring vegetables, such as asparagus (leave tips whole), baby carrots, baby leeks, baby turnips, baby zucchini, spring onions, and sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup whole, shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas, baby lima beans (preferably peeled), or fava beans (peeled); or a mix of all
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. thinly sliced lemon zest (remove zest with a vegetable peeler and thinly slice)
  • 2 cups loosley packed pea shoots, watercress sprigs, or baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped mixed fresh herbs such as basil, chervil, chives, mint, parsley, and tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Not sure how to peel fava beans? Check out our article for more information of shelling and prepping fresh favas.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and cook the fettuccine, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 6 minutes. (While pasta is cooking, scoop out 1-1/2 cups of pasta cooking water.)

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, but not browned, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of of reserved pasta water. Add the sliced vegetables and peas or lima beans (if using fresh). Cover and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and lemon zest along with any fava beans or thawed, frozen peas or lima beans (if using). Bring to a simmer.

Drain the fettuccine and return to its cooking pot. Toss with the vegetables and cream sauce, pea shoots (or watercress or arugula), Parmigiano, all but 1 Tbs. of the herbs, and the pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, adjust the consistency of the sauce with the reserved 1/2 cup pasta water; the sauce should generously coat the vegetables and pasta. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining fresh herbs and the pine nuts.

Photo: Scott Phillips

Overall, I think this is a good recipe but definitely needs some tweaking. I would not cut corners by using half and half like I did. You need the cream to properly coat the pasta - half n' half is too thin. I would recommend adding more grated Parmesan, Locatelli or Grana Padana. A good grind of pepper is needed too. I used asparagus, frozen baby peas, shaved carrots, zucchini, watercress, and arugula along with a blend of fresh basil, mint, and parsley. The vegetables and herbs were a perfect blend. I did add the pasta water to help the sauce adhere to the pasta. I would not recommend vegetable broth because you need the starch from the pasta water for your sauce.

Perfect for a weeknight meal. I used broccoli, carrots, fennel, 1/2 & 1/2 instead of heavy cream, and basil, parsley, & mint for the herbs. It was a quick, tasty and very fresh pasta dish. Will certainly do this again.

Wow, this was SO GOOD! We couldn't stop eating it, so beware. I chose to use carrots, asparagus, frozen peas and baby arugula for the vegetables. Instead of simmering the vegetables in pasta water, I used a little under a cup of vegetable broth. I used basil, mint and flat leaf parsley for the herbs. The flavor was bright, kind of sweet and very fresh. I can’t wait to eat this again.

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