It’s Spring – Time for Pasta Primavera!

This is a recipe I’ve made many times, and it’s definitely a regular in our spring/summer rotation.  That’s saying a lot, because generally my philosophy is “So many recipes, so little time.”  Tim and I both love this because it’s healthy and full of vegetables.  It’s light, very fresh tasting, and perfect for spring!  And primavera actually means “spring” in Spanish and Italian, so this is very fitting.

I used a recipe by Ellie Krieger from Food Network but made a few changes, among them adding onion, increasing the amount of tomatoes, and changing the pasta up a bit.  The original recipe has no meat, and I’ve definitely made it that way; however, this time, I added some diced chicken.  You can make it either way depending on your preferences and what ingredients you have.  You could switch up the veggies too.  I think zucchini would be great, and it is often used in pasta primavera.


Here’s a fun little trick for you that I learned from Rachael Ray.  When you need to slice the tomatoes in half, instead of cutting them one by one, put the tomatoes in between two lids from small deli containers, put your hand on top, and cut them all at once.  I’s a huge time saver, just be sure to use a really sharp knife.

Pasta Primavera

  • 2 large or 3 small chicken breasts
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cleaned, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1/2 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1.5 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large carrot (6 ounces) peeled and sliced into strips with a peeler
  • 3/4 pound whole-wheat spaghetti or linguine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup shredded basil leaves

If you want to make this with chicken, cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the chicken breasts, salt and pepper, and about 1/4 of the amount of onion that you cut up.  Cook about 8 minutes, or until chicken is lightly browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside.  Set aside.

If you’re not making this with chicken, start here.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Cook peppers, onion, asparagus, and garlic about 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Season veggies with salt and pepper.  Add chicken in with vegetables.  Sprinkle flour over vegetables and chicken and cook for about a minute, to cook the raw flour taste out.  Stir in the chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil.  The sauce will thicken, but you never know how thick it’s going to get until it boils.  Stir in carrot strips.  Taste to check for salt and pepper, and add more if needed.

While veggies are cooking, cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Toss pasta with veggie mixture.  Add some pasta water if necessary to loosen mixture.  This time, I didn’t need to add any, but sometimes I do.  Stir in basil and parsley and garnish with Parmesan.

It’s really good leftover, too!

9 thoughts on “It’s Spring – Time for Pasta Primavera!

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