Pasta primavera a flexible go-to meal
FoodFlavorful and light

Pasta primavera a flexible go-to meal

An easy way to use up extra vegetables that you may already have on hand

(Photo by Jessica Grann)
(Photo by Jessica Grann)

Pasta primavera is one of my go-to favorites when I want a light meal with a lot of flavor.

This dish is an easy way to use up extra vegetables that you may already have on hand. It’s also flexible flavorwise so you can add the vegetables that you love the most since they are the showpiece of the meal.

The recipe is vegetarian or vegan if you leave out the cheese. It also makes an incredible cold pasta salad, which is even better if you allow it to rest overnight and soak up the flavor.

This recipe serves two for dinner and can easily be doubled to feed four people.

Pasta primavera


Half a pound of any pasta cooked al dente to the instructions on the label
1 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts in water, drained and halved
1 orange or yellow pepper
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 cup of frozen peas
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons of chicken-flavored pareve consommé
¼ cup of olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan or crumbled feta cheese, optional

You can choose any shape of pasta that you prefer. Cook it al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain and reserve about half a cup of the cooking water.

I really love my stovetop grill pan for cooking vegetables because it will give a beautiful “grilled” appearance to your vegetables, but you can absolutely make this in a regular sauté pan if you don’t have one.

You can use frozen artichoke hearts if you prefer, but you need to thaw them well before preparation. Whether you choose frozen or canned, you want to rinse them, cut them in half and let them drain any extra water onto a tray lined with paper towels. Let them rest for at least half an hour before cooking.

The artichokes are so tasty that I often serve them just on their own as a vegetable side dish. I like to place about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and place the heat on medium. It takes 2 or 3 minutes for the oil to warm and then you can add the artichokes, flat side down. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes. Remove them from the pan and lightly sprinkle red wine vinegar over the artichokes. You will most likely use less than a teaspoon of vinegar, but this little bit really makes the artichokes taste so good.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until they look like they are about to burst. Remove the tomatoes and put them aside with the grilled artichokes before adding the bell pepper or other sliced vegetables to the pan to sauté.

Asparagus and zucchini also go well with this meal and if you don’t care for peas, you can omit them and replace them with a different green vegetable.

The key to cooking any of the vegetables is to watch them carefully. You don’t want them to taste raw or to be overcooked — they should look fresh, colorful and have a bit of bite to them. I chose to use orange bell pepper slices, so I cooked those last.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil if you feel that the pan needs it. Cook the peppers as suggested until they soften but still have a bite to them. Remove the peppers from the pan and add in the sliced garlic. Sauté for about 2 minutes or until fragrant. I’m a big fan of adding pareve consommé for flavor. A little goes a long way, and keep in mind that it’s salty.

This pasta is often made with a little chicken stock, but I needed to find a way to add that bit of extra flavor while keeping the recipe kosher. Two teaspoons is usually enough — add it to the sauteed garlic with ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water and the frozen peas. Cook for a minute or until the powder combines well with the water.

Pour this mixture over the cooked pasta and toss well until it’s evenly coated. Adding a little more of the reserved cooking water can help when getting this mixed. I suggest this step for any pasta with any sauce.

Sprinkle the grilled vegetables with a bit of kosher or sea salt before arranging them over the top of the pasta. You can add freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes for a bit of spice.

Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if needed, and feel free to add fresh basil or herbs to bolster the flavor.

Serve immediately and with cheese, if desired.

If you are interested in using this recipe for cold pasta salad, allow it to cool before covering it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. Add extra red wine vinegar to taste.

Enjoy and bless your hands! PJC

Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.

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