Adding a ton of vegetables to pasta makes it healthy, right? We made this for “meatless Monday” this week. So creamy, delicious, and easy. Every summer, I make a lot of Basil Pesto. Last summer, my plants over delivered and I’m still making my way through the frozen bounty. By the time this year’s plants are ready to harvest, I should finally be through last year’s crop. This is a terrific way to use up those stores and add major flavor to an otherwise simple sauce. Enjoy!
Creamy Pesto Pasta Primavera
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, banged open and roughly chopped
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 12 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (your preference)
- 1/2 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut into about 1-inch pieces
- 1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 small squash or zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
- splash Vermouth (or a dry white wine)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 ladle (or more) pasta water
- 4 ice-cubes of Basil Pesto, defrosted (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 pint of heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1/2 pound gemelli pasta (or another pasta that cooks in 10-12 minutes)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil (this will be for your pasta). While the pasta water heats, heat the oil over medium in a large skillet (12 inches is good) until shimmering. Add the garlic and onions together and saute until translucent. Add the mushrooms along with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Let the mushrooms cook until their liquid starts to release (the salt will help this along). Add the asparagus, broccoli florets, and squash or zucchini. Toss to combine in the pan. The liquid will dry up pretty quickly, so add the lemon juice and the Vermouth, turn the heat to medium-low, and put a lid on the pan for 3-4 minutes to let the veggies steam.
Your pasta water should be boiling by now. Start your pasta, give it a stir, and cook to about 2 minutes from al dente (about 10 minutes using a 12 minute pasta).
Once the pasta water comes back to a boil, scoop one ladle of pasta water into the skillet with the veggies. Add the pesto and heavy cream, stir to coat all the veggies. Keep the sauce simmering on low while the pasta cooks.
When the pasta is 2 minutes from al dente, drain it, reserving another ladle-full of pasta water if you think your sauce needs more liquid. Add the drained pasta directly to the skillet along with the fresh basil. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Cook for another 1-2 minutes in the sauce then serve immediately in warm bowls with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano.