Capricci Primavera (All’Ortolano)

30 minutes
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  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x

Ingredients

  • About ½ cup of each of the following – no need to be precise. Add or subtract to taste.
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 asparagus stems woody ends removed, cut into ½ inch pieces red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound capricci (or penne, farfalle)
  • Grated Parmigiano

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Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion, carrot, and celery in the olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the asparagus and cook for 5 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for 5 more minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Add the zucchini, and about a teaspoon of salt and pepper, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are thoroughly cooked, but not too soft.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente (about 2 minutes less than package directions), drain, and retain a cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the vegetables and mix together. Add a bit of the cooking water if it seems too dry.
  5. Toss in the parsley and serve, with grated Parmigiano.

Ed's Review

Aaah, La Primavera. Springtime. Fresh air, fresh flowers, and a fresh desire to drop ten pounds. What better way to kick-off the spring season than with a bowl of pasta and fresh vegetables? Pasta Primavera became popular in America in the 1970′s. In Italy, it is more commonly called Pasta all’Ortolano (gardener’s pasta). The beauty of the dish is that you can use whatever vegetables you like or have on hand. Some people (not Italians) will add cream, but I think it destroys the light and fresh purpose of the dish.

I can’t help but wonder what actually led someone to add cream to this dish in the first place.  What were they thinking?!  What Philistine did this?  “RAPE OF CUISINE!” as Primo yells in Big Night.

But I certainly don’t want to cloud the delights of springtime with such negative thoughts. So, just grow or go out and buy the, freshest, most beautiful vegetables you can find, chop them up, sauté them in olive oil, and pour them over your favorite pasta. Do something good for yourself. After all, summer is just around the corner.

Buon Appetito!

Ed Garrubbo, Editor

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