Capellini Primavera

Federico Fellini’s quote, “La vita è una combinazione di magia e pasta” (Life is a combination of magic and pasta) graces the frontispiece of Lidia Bastianich’s chapter on pasta in her new book, Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine. This recipe demonstrates the magic of combining spring vegetables with capellini to produce a real pasta primavera that is light years away from the sorry obligatory versions often served to vegetarians in American restaurants. You can discover more Italian cooking tips from Bastianich at the upcoming Check Please! Arizona festival at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix on March 20, where the star of “Lidia’s Kitchen” will join local PBS host Chef Robert McGrath for a cooking demonstration (see azpbs.org/checkplease/festival/ for tickets and additional information).
By | February 15, 2016

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 8 ounces asparagus, bottoms trimmed and peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound capellini
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • ½ cup freshly grated Grana Padano

Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Once the garlic begins to sizzle, add the green beans, asparagus and salt. Add ½ cup pasta-cooking water, then cover and let steam until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the grape tomatoes and cook until they begin to wrinkle, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and peas, the cream and 1 cup pasta water. Bring to a rapid boil, and cook until reduced by about half, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the garlic.

Once you add the cream to the sauce, add the capellini to the pasta water and cook until just al dente, with still quite a bite to it (it will cook more in the sauce).

When the capellini is ready, remove with tongs and transfer directly to the sauce, and add the basil. Toss to coat the pasta in the sauce, adding a splash of pasta water if it seems dry. Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese, toss and serve.

Note: Substitute fresh peas if available.

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 8 ounces asparagus, bottoms trimmed and peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound capellini
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • ½ cup freshly grated Grana Padano
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