Growing Chefs! Ontario Asparagus Primavera

Asparagus Primavera

Primavera means Spring” in Italian and this pasta dish uses the first greens of Spring. Think of this as a method and adapt with whatever vegetables, herbs, and dairy you have on hand. Although Italian by name, this dish was actually developed at Le Cirque in the late 1970’s.
Serves 4
1/2 pound asparagus2 tablespoons butter, unsalted1 tablespoon olive oil2 green onions, sliced2 cups or handfuls spinach, swiss chard, or young greens2 garlic cloves, rasped2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated1/4 cup whipping cream, or 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt3 tablespoons parsley or chives, chopped1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped1 lemon, zested and juiced12 ozs fresh or dried pasta Salt to taste Pepper to taste
Medium potMedium frying panCutting boardScissorsChef's knife or paring knifeBowls, various sizesRaspMeasuring cupsMeasuring spoonsWooden spoonSlotted spoon or strainer

Get Organized!

Gather all of your ingredients and equipment before you get started!

Get Prepped!

Snap the ends of the asparagus and snap or slice into 2 centimetre pieces. 

Using scissors or a paring knife, thinly cut or slice the green onion and separate into green and white pieces. 

Stack the greens on top of each other and roll tightly. Roughly chop.

Finely grate the cheese. 

Zest and juice the lemon, keep separate. 

Cut the herbs finely with scissors or a knife.

Measure out the butter, olive oil, peas, and cream. 

Get Cooking!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt until it tastes like the sea.

Heat the oil and butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the asparagus and the white part of the green onions. Sauté for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the greens, garlic, and lemon zest and continue to cook until greens are wilted and garlic is fragrant. Taste the asparagus for doneness. It should be crisp and not fully cooked. 

Add the pasta to the boiling water. If using fresh pasta, it will be done in 2 – 3 minutes. If using dried, follow the package directions until the pasta is just done. 

Add the cream to the vegetables and simmer to reduce slightly. When cooked, add the pasta with a slotted spoon so some of the starchy pasta water is added as well. 

Once the pasta is coated with the sauce, stir in a bit of lemon juice, herbs, cheese, and salt to taste. Add a bit more pasta water or cream depending on the thickness of the sauce.