The Italian word “primavera” translates to “spring” in English, so in the literal sense, pasta primavera is simply a dish that combines fresh spring vegetables and pasta in a sauce that lightly coats the ingredients.
Our take on this simple springtime dish combines shrimp, asparagus, peas, and cavatappi (corkscrew pasta) with a light sauce made with onion, garlic, and white wine.
Making this dish is very simple and you can follow our technique and get creative by mixing in your favorite ingredient combinations.
Easy steps for making this dish:
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- In a separate pan, sauté some garlic and onion in olive oil.
- Deglaze with white wine.
- Boil the shrimp until tender, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Cook and drain the pasta and reserve some of the cooking water.
- Add some pasta water to the garlic-onion mixture, stir in the asparagus and peas and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Combine the veggies with the pasta, shrimp, and a handful of parsley.
- Season to taste and serve.
- Replace the shrimp with diced ham.
- Substitute snap peas for the asparagus.
- Make a meatless version with roasted zucchini and fresh cherry tomatoes.
More springtime recipes:
- Risotto Primavera
- Herb Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb
- Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Butter
- Prosciutto Pasta Toss (from Taste of Home)
Pasta Primavera with Shrimp
- 3/4 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails left on)
- 10 ounces pasta, cavatappi, rotini, penne
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas, preferably petite
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until barely golden, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have accumulated on the bottom.
- Reduce the heat to low to keep warm and set aside.
- Add the shrimp to the boiling pasta water and cook just until pink and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside.
- Bring the water back to a rolling boil and add the pasta. (Don’t worry about the water being cloudy from the shrimp. It will add a little extra flavor to the pasta.)
- Cook and drain the pasta reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
- Return the pasta to the pot. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, toss to coat and set aside.
- Add the asparagus and about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the onion-garlic mixture.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the asparagus is tender 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the peas, cook for 1 minute additional, then add the pasta, shrimp, and another 2 to 4 tablespoons of the pasta water.
- Combine and continue cooking until all the ingredients are heated through.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, sprinkle with parsley and serve.