You’d be hard-pressed to find a dish that better celebrates spring than pasta primavera, which literally translates to “spring pasta” in Italian. This dish has many versions, but characteristic that unites them all is the abundance of freshly-picked vegetables that peak during springtime, such as asparagus, peas and fresh herbs like chervil.
There are countless ways to prepare this dish. For instance, you can keep it meatless and utilize fresh angel hair pasta as a counterpart to the delicate vegetables; see this method shown in our video.
Pasta Primavera with Chicken
1/2 lb. (250 g) asparagus spears, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs. chopped shallots
2 tsp. minced garlic
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) white wine
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) heavy cream
4 oz. (125 g) sugar snap peas
1 cup (5 oz./155 g) frozen peas
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs such as mint, chives, chervil and flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Add the asparagus to the water and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Using a strainer, scoop out the asparagus and transfer to the ice water to cool. Scoop the asparagus out of the water and set aside.
Return the pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the pasta cooking water. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. olive oil. Cook the chicken breast about 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from pan, set aside to rest for 5 minutes then slice on the bias.
In the same sauté pan add the remaining olive oil, shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté over medium heat until the shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the butter and cream and continue cooking until the mixture has reduced slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and frozen peas and cook until the vegetables are warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add pasta, chicken, lemon juice, and cheese and toss to combine, adding the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to achieve a silky consistency. Add herbs and a big pinch of salt and pepper and toss again. Serve immediately, passing additional cheese at the table. Serves 4.