Pasta Primavera

Gracie Cavnar
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Pasta Primavera.jpg Primavera means spring in Italian and this dish was first created to celebrate young spring vegetables, but you can mix and match the veggies to make it with the best that any season has to offer.  Here it is with a little bit of everything. (Recipe from Eat It! Food Adventures with Marco Polo.)

Serves 8 as entrée

½ package fettuccini-style dried noodles, cooked according to package directions                                  
¼ cup olive oil, divided
2 carrots, minced
2 ribs celery, minced
1 small red onion, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 stalks parsley minced
1 green onion, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, julienne
½ bunch asparagus, tough stalks removed and tops cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup broccoli flowers, steamed for 3-4 minutes until bright green
½ cup peas (fresh or frozen)
2 ounces fresh spinach leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces                
4-6 basil leaves, chiffonade
1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Step One: Make a Sofrito
    1.    Collect and measure all of your ingredients to create a mise en place.
    2.    Heat a large sauté pan to medium high heat and add ½ the olive oil; let heat up for 1 - 2 minutes.
    3.    Add minced carrots to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes.
    4.    Add minced celery and continue cooking 2 minutes.
    5.    Stir in the minced onion and cook until it starts to seem clear (about 5 minutes.)
    6.    Add salt.
    7.    Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for about 2 minutes, or until they release their wonderful aroma (smell.)
    8.    Stir in the minced parsley.
You have just created an Italian style sofrito, which if you stopped now, could be used as a great flavor base for soups, stews, and sauces.
Step Two: Layer the Flavor
    1.    Gently add the green onion, bell pepper, asparagus, and broccoli and cook for 3-4 minutes until all the veggies turn even brighter.
    2.    Stir in the fresh or frozen peas and spinach and remove pan from heat.
    3.    Add the pasta and the rest of the olive oil, and toss to coat.
Step Three: Serve it up
    1.    Divide into shallow soup bowls.
    2.    Garnish with basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of cracked pepper.
    3.    Serve immediately.

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