From America's Test Kitchen Season 12: Pasta, Please
In pasta primavera, the vegetables and pasta are tossed together in a cream sauce made with broth and heavy cream. We love this classic, but sometimes we want a lighter, brighter version—one with a creamy sauce, but without the cream. As for the vegetables, we wanted true spring vegetables. To start, we chose asparagus and green peas, adding chives for bite and garlic and leeks for depth and sweetness. For a deeply flavored sauce that would unify the pasta and vegetables, we borrowed a technique from risotto, lightly toasting the pasta in olive oil before cooking it in broth and white wine. The sauce flavored the pasta as it cooked while the pasta added starch to the sauce, thickening it without the need for heavy cream. This nontraditional approach gave us a light but creamy sauce with sweet, grassy flavors that paired perfectly with the vegetables for a dish that truly tasted like spring.
Serves 4 to 6
For tips on trimming asparagus, see related tip. Campanelle is our pasta of choice in this dish, but farfalle and penne are acceptable substitutes.