For those unfamiliar with Pasta Primavera, it is a dish consisting of pasta and fresh vegetables. And since primavera means “spring,” the vegetables of choice should be fresh, crisp offerings of springtime. A meat such as chicken or shrimp can be added, but the focus of primavera is the vegetables themselves. It is sometimes called “Au Premier” - meaning first new vegetables of spring. And although you can prepare this dish with just about any vegetable you desire, here at John Harvard’s we’ll be serving it up with yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and artichoke hearts.
Pasta Primavera first appeared in the United States in the 1970’s at the Le Cirque Restaurant in New York City. It wasn’t formally listed on the Le Cirque menu, but rather was a recurring house special. Its popularity caught on quickly, becoming a widely recognized signature development of American cuisine. Some accounts say that the chef of LeCirque at the time, Jean Vergnes, refused the dish in his kitchen. The many requests for it had to be satisfied via a pot set up in the hallway and preparation done in a gloomy back corner of the kitchen. This story and the dish’s fame were featured in a 1977 New York Times article written by Craig Claborne and Pierre Franey based on the unlisted special at the Le Cirque. The article even included a recipe for the dish.
LET’S PREPARE THE DISH
Preparation of Pasta Primavera starts with your favorite pasta and veggies. (Any pasta will work for this recipe and almost any combination of vegetables can be used, be creative!) In a hot sauté pan add oil and the desired vegetables, let cook 5-7 minutes. Be sure to keep your pan moving so none of the vegetables stick. Add in fresh chopped garlic and let cook until the garlic is tender. Deglaze with white wine (make sure there is enough wine left to make your sauce).
Remove your vegetables to make the sauce creation easier. Add butter and turn off the heat; keep the sauté pan moving until all the butter has melted and formed your white wine garlic butter sauce. Add back your vegetables and pasta and toss them all together in your pan.
You can finish your dish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese if desired.
JOHN HARVARD’S PILS
This light lager was created in the style that once was the choice of beer among Bostonians in the mid 1800’s. Derived from immigrant German brewers who brought with them the yeast and the recipe for brewing in America, this beer is golden in color, light in body with a clean, crisp hop aroma and flavor. This beer goes great with pasta dishes, especially our John Harvard’s Pasta Primavera. Enjoy!