Mother’s Day Primavera
For those of you who voted for a fancy pasta in last week’s poll, I have to apologize.
You were probably expecting some fancy ravioli. A simple pasta primavera is maybe not what you had in mind.
But I was cooking for my mother and she likes simple dishes, so Nanny nanny boo boo!
My Mom is half Italian and loves a good pasta dish as much as the next Italian, but she also loves vegetables and spring time so a primavera seemed appropriate.
Oh. And I made my own angel hair pasta. So that’s pretty darn fancy in my book!
Making Pasta Dough:
1) Mix flour with salt and pour it onto a clean counter surface. Make a small well in the center of the flour and crack in your eggs and egg yolks.
2) Use a fork to scramble eggs and slowly incorporate flour into the egg mixture.
3) After a few minutes, the egg mixture should be pretty thick and you can start to lightly fold it over itself and knead in more flour. Keep kneading in more flour until the dough is firm and not sticky, about 10 minutes of kneading. YOu won't need all the flour most likely.
4) When the dough is smooth and firm and not sticky at all, it's done. Wrap it in plastic wrap at this point and let it rest at room temperature for an hour. You can also freeze it at this point for longer storage.
5) To make the pasta, cut the dough into thirds or quarters and work with one piece at a time. Flour the dough well and start running it through your pasta machine on the widest setting. Do this a few times, folding and turning the dough to knead it a bit more.
6) Once the dough is in a smooth sheet, start cranking down the pasta machine. Roll the dough through each setting making sure it stays nicely floured so it doesn't stick. Stop on the second to thinnest setting. Then run it through the angel hair cutter to cut the pasta into shape.
7) Toss pasta with flour and set aside as you do the other pieces of dough.
To make primavera:
1) Chop broccoli, asparagus, and green beans into large pieces. Blanch in heavily salted water for 60-90 seconds. You can use the same water to cook the pasta later.
2) Remove veggies from water with a slotted spoon and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
3) In a large high-walled pan or skillet, add olive oil, crushed garlic, and red pepper flakes over low heat. Cook for a few minutes to let the garlic flavors infuse into the oil. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
4) Turn heat up to medium and add the zucchini, red pepper slices, and scallions. Cook for another minute or two.
5) Add blanched veggies to the pan along with stock, cream, and parmesan.
6) Add pasta to boiling water to cook. The pasta should take only a minute or two to cook assuming you are using angel hair.
7) When pasta is done, transfer straight to pan with veggies. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce and mix with veggies.
8) Serve immediately with chopped basil and extra Parmesan.
Homemade pasta gets a bad rap for being very hard to do.
It’s really not that bad though. I promise that you can do it. The real question is… is it worth it?
That depends. I definitely don’t make all the pasta that I eat, but I would guess that I make homemade pasta at least once a month. All told, it’s about a half hour of work and the results are really spectacular.
I always make the dough by hand and then use a machine to roll it out.
To start, just make a well with your flour/salt mixture and then crack in your eggs. Use a fork to start mixing the eggs and slowly incorporating the flour into the eggs.
Eventually, the yolk mixture will take on enough flour that you can start to gently fold it over itself using your hands. As you do that, work in more flour and after a few minutes you’ll have a nice, firm ball of dough.
If you look back at the first homemade pasta I ever made, you’ll see that I wasn’t always so good at containing my eggs in the well.
Don’t stress if you make a mess. Just keep mixing flour into your eggs and eventually you’ll have a dough ball. Knead the dough ball for about 6-8 minutes until it is nice and smooth and not sticky at all.
Then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour at room temperature.
For this recipe, you only need a half pound of dough, so I cut my dough down to about that amount. I froze the rest for later!
Once you have your dough ready, you can roll this out by hand and cut it into long noodles, but I have never been able to get it thin enough without a pasta roller.
If you have a kitchenaid, you can just use the pasta attachment which works great.
I cut my half pound of dough in half to make it easier to work with and then started rolling it through my pasta machine press on the widest setting (1). Don’t be afraid to coat your dough pretty liberally with flour as you roll it so it doesn’t stick.
Keep running the dough through the widest setting a few times to knead the dough. Fold it and turn it as you go.
After a few times, start cranking the pasta machine down. Run the dough through once for each setting. I have eight settings on mine and I stopped at the second thinnest setting (7)
Then just slap on your angel hair attachment and cut it up!
Toss the cut pasta with some flour so it doesn’t stick and you are in business!
Some primavera recipes are really cream heavy which has its place and time. This recipe is a bit on the lighter side though. It is jam-packed with lots of good spring vegetables and has just a touch of cream and stock to make a very light sauce.
To start though, cut your broccoli, asparagus, and green beans in to large pieces and blanch them in salted water for about 60-90 seconds. Then rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking.
You can use the same boiling water to cook your pasta also so don’t through it out!
Eventually, you’ll need these things to make the sauce.
In a large skillet, add your oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes over LOW heat. Let those flavors cook together slowly for a few minutes.
Be very careful not to burn the garlic.
Once the mixture is really fragrant, add the zucchini, red peppers, and scallions. Turn the heat up to about medium and continue to cook for another minute or two.
Then add in your blanched vegetables, stock, cream, and parmesan cheese.
As this cooks the liquid will come together to make a light sauce.
Once you add your blanched veggies, start cooking your pasta.
Assuming you are using angel hair pasta, it should take just a minute or two to cook.
Once cooked, add the pasta straight to the large pot and toss everything together!
Garnish the pasta with some extra Parmesan cheese and chopped basil and you are in for a treat!
The tricky part about a primavera, in my opinion, is making sure that all of your veggies are still slightly crisp and not soggy at all. The best way to make sure this happens is to have everything ready for the dish before you start cooking. You don’t want to be chopping scallions while your zucchini overcooks.
Obviously, you don’t have to make your own angel hair pasta for this, but I know that my Mom would like it if I did.