One Pot Pasta Primavera Welcomes Early Spring Vegetables
I love pasta any time of the year but Spring is without a doubt one of the best times to make lighter, more plant-forward pasta dishes. Dry pasta is easy on the pocketbook and can stretch into a few more meals by adding vegetables and frozen peas. This recipe is just in time to celebrate Meditteranean Diet Month and features the one-pot method of making pasta. It is a game-changer for me because I will never boil pasta again for hot pasta dishes. The technique is more of a "risotto" style technique because you cook it like rice sort of. It works with short styles of pasta along with string pasta. I have never tried it with fresh pasta but my cook's intuition tells me that it probably would not work because the pasta would cook too quickly. This dish is only about 10 minutes stirring time and you can add a multitude of ingredients to it depending on what you are craving at the moment. Here is a list of variations that come to mind to add when the pasta is done:
Asian style- add snow peas, soy sauce to taste, and garnish with fresh chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Drizzle with a bit of toasted sesame oil at the end for flavor.
Cajun-style- add some Cajun Seasoning to taste, basil, Andouille sausage to heat it up a bit. Hot sauce and Lea and Perrins Worchester sauce is a must for any Cajun dish too.
Ingredients used in this recipe
Olive Oil- I used extra virgin because that's what I had on hand. Your favorite sauteeing oil will work.
Dry Linguini pasta- I chose Linguini because I had it in my pantry, however, any string pasta like spaghetti or fettuccine will work just fine. I read somewhere that Italian pasta works best but sometimes it's hard to tell if pasta is from Italy or not, so go with what you can get.
Cherry or Grape tomatoes- either one will work for this recipe, there is no need to cut them in half as they will soften when cooked.
Onions- yellow or white will work, cut them as thin as you can for best results. The half-moon slice is perfect for this dish.
Vegetable stock- I used the jar paste kind mixed with water, the kind you like will work fine. If you are out, water will work as well.
Chopped garlic- Chop as small as you want, remember, the smaller the chop with garlic, the more concentrated the flavor is.
Salt- I used regular salt, you could use kosher or sea salt.
Chili Flakes in Oil- I have the recipe at the end of the post for my chili oil. I use it in almost all of my pasta dishes and a few others too. It gives a bit of a zip to the dish. Leave it out if you do not like spice in your pasta dishes.
Broccoli- Fresh or frozen will work, I chop them in bite-sized chunks.
Zucchini- half-moon cuts work great here.
Fresh Asparagus- I used the pencil-thin size and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces.
Frozen green peas- great thrown in at the end of just about any pasta dish for a bit more protein. No need to thaw.
Bread Crumbs- I used the plain Italian kind. If you are plant-based you will want to make your own, as the Italian ones have cheese in them.
Cashews- I used salted and roasted ones, however, the optimum healthy option is raw.
Nutritional Yeast- a great condiment aka "Nooch" gives this crumb topping its savory umami flavor. Try it on popcorn or other savory vegetable dishes to use it up if you buy it. Sprinkle it on vegetables. It's the plant-based substitute for Parmesan cheese
I made this for a recent Fox21 online newscast recently. Don't judge, I still suck at filming. For an edited video of this recipe click here
One-Pan Pasta Primavera
To print the recipe, click here
1 tablespoon olive oil 16 ounces linguine, dry
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
5 cups vegetable stock or water
4 cloves chopped garlic 2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes in chili oil
1 cup broccoli, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 cup zucchini, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 cup fresh asparagus cut in small pieces
1 cup of frozen green peas
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oils, plus more for serving coarse salt and freshly ground pepper For the Crumb topping:
2 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons cashew nuts chopped fine
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large shallow pan. Add onions, tomato garlic, and red pepper flakes. Break pasta and add to the pan, add 2 teaspoons salt, and stock/water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated about 9 minutes. When pasta is almost cooked, add broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, and green peas. Mix the bread crumbs, chopped cashews, and nutritional yeast together and sprinkle on top before serving. Chef's Notes This recipe works best with Dry Italian Pasta. If you use 12 ounces of pasta, use 4 1/2 cups of water in the recipe. Feel free to change or add vegetables to this mixture. If they are not the quick-cooking type of vegetables, saute them ahead of time in the same pan and remove them before proceeding with the recipe. When pasta is cooked, add the vegetables back in before serving. Chili oil is 1 tablespoon of dried red chili flakes in 1/8 cup of olive oil. Keeps up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Short or string pasta will work as well as whole-wheat pasta.