For me nothing says Spring quite like a big serving of Pasta Primavera! This dish is full of fresh seasonal vegetables tossed with pasta in a light lemon and butter sauce. Now I know I’m not the only one who struggles getting their daily veggies, which is why I love this recipe. It incorporates lots of colorful vegetables, is simple to toss together and the leftovers are just as good the next day!
Although the name Primavera stands for “Spring” in Italian, Pasta Primavera is actually a popular American dish that was first introduced in the 1970s. It includes lots of fresh Spring and Summer vegetables that are sauteed and tossed with pasta in a light cream sauce. In this recipe we opted for a fresh lemon and butter sauce.
Ingredients for Pasta Primavera
Pasta Primavera is such a simple and fresh recipe, you’ll only need a few ingredients to make this impressive dish. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Pasta Primavera:
- Pasta – Choose your favorite medium-sized pasta like penne, rotini or bow-tie pasta.
- Lots of Veggies – The variety of fresh vegetables is what gives this pasta recipe lots of color, flavor and texture. Here we use a combination of Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Carrots, Grape Tomatoes, Red Onion and Peas.
- Fresh Lemon Juice – The fresh lemon juice helps bring out the flavor of the vegetables.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Butter – Olive oil to saute the vegetables and a little bit of butter to help make the light sauce.
- Salt, Pepper & Dried Oregano – A simple seasoning combination.
- Parmesan Cheese – A little bit of fresh parmesan cheese added at the end helps finish the sauce.
Can I Use Different Vegetables?
Absolutely! Pasta Primavera is extremely versatile. You could mix and match with other vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans or any fresh vegetables that are in season that will cook in relatively the same amount of time. This is also a great recipe to use up any leftover veggies that may be hanging out in your fridge to help reduce food waste in your kitchen.
What to Serve with Pasta Primavera
This Pasta Primavera is certainly hearty enough to eat on its own as a main dish, but you can also serve it with some of our favorites like:
- 8 oz. penne pasta ($0.63)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
- 1 zucchini ($0.75)
- 1 yellow squash ($0.85)
- 1 carrot ($0.14)
- 1/2 red onion ($0.38)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas ($0.21)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes ($1.00)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced ($0.24)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan ($0.89)
- 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1/2 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
- 2 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice ($0.13)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.28)
- Start by prepping your vegetables. Wash the vegetables, then cut and slice each vegetable into equal size pieces. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash into half moons, slice the carrots into thin rounds, cut the grape tomatoes in half and slice the red onion into strips.
- Next bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, or until al dente. Reserve some of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta in a colander.
- While the pasta is boiling, saute the vegetables. In a large deep skillet add olive oil and saute carrots and onion over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Next add zucchini and yellow squash and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Next add the minced garlic, grape tomatoes and frozen peas. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Saute for an additional 1-2 minutes, then turn the heat off.
- Add the butter to the skillet along with the fresh squeezed lemon juice and stir well to combine. Either add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet, or transfer the pasta and vegetables to a large bowl. Add grated parmesan cheese and some of the reserved pasta water. Stir the vegetables with the pasta until well combined. Serve with fresh chopped parsley (optional garnish) and enjoy!
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Pasta Primavera – Step by Step Photos
Start by prepping your vegetables. Wash the vegetables thoroughly then cut and slice each vegetable into equal size pieces. Cut the one zucchini and one yellow squash into half moons, slice one carrot into thin rounds, thinly slice half of a red onion, cut one cup of grape tomatoes in half, and mince three cloves of garlic.
Next bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to the package instructions to al dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water before draining the pasta in a colander. Transfer drained pasta to a large bowl.
While the pasta is boiling, start sautéeing the vegetables. In a large deep skillet add olive oil. Sauté carrots and onion over medium heat for 2 minutes. Next add zucchini and yellow squash and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Now add the minced garlic, grape tomatoes and frozen peas. Season the vegetables with 1 tsp salt (or to taste), 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 tsp dried oregano. Sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes then turn your heat off.
Add 2 Tbsp butter to the skillet along with about 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice. Stir the vegetables well to combine.
Either add the cooked and drained penne to the skillet and stir to combine with the vegetables or transfer both the pasta and vegetables to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese and about ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir until well combined. Add more of the reserved pasta water if needed to create a light sauce.
Serve with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!