You can make this dish with or without meat. Pasta Primavera is typically pasta with fresh vegetables, lots of herbs and grated cheese at the end. You can make this with almost any kind of vegetables you like. I have prepared mine with purple kale, cabbage, red peppers and some fresh spinach and herbs. A good drizzle of olive oil and perhaps some grated Parmesano Reggiano and all is well in the world tonight!
You will need:
- pasta – enough for your crowd – cooked al dente – I used tagliatelle which is a flat egg noodle but you can use any noodle you prefer.
- 2 chicken breasts – optional
- 4 tbsp olive oil (more to finish)
- 1 small onion – diced
- 1 tbsp dry Italian seasoning
- red kale chopped equalling 1 cup packed
- 4 leaves purple cabbage – sliced thin
- 1/3 cup chopped red pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh red chili – chopped fine
- 1 spring onion – chopped fine
- handful of spinach or mixed greens – chopped fine
- 4 – 5 leaves fresh basil – sliced into ribbons (chiffonade)
- 2 cups your favourite tomato sauce – I use a can of crushed tomatoes with seasonings added (see recipe for more details
- freshly grated Parmesan and good olive oil for serving
Step 1: chop chicken and onions. In a large pan with olive oil cook chicken, onions, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until starting to brown and carmelize. This will take approx 15 minutes stirring to avoid burning. If you have bits that stick to the bottom of the pan this is good and imparts lots of flavour to the finished sauce.
Step 2: add your tomato sauce. I prepare my sauce by taking a carrot, a stalk of celery, a 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 5 basil leaves and a handful of parsley and puree until almost a paste in a food processor. I then pour everything into a pan with a good glug of olive oil and cook for 5 minutes. I add a can of tomato puree and cook 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and that is your base sauce. You could always add a decent can of spaghetti sauce if you prefer not to make your own.
Step 3: get your water going to cook your pasta. Cook according to your pasta instructions.
Step 4: chop all remaining ingredients and in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil cook kale, cabbage, red pepper, chili pepper until partially cooked. This will only take 5 minutes. Add to the tomato sauce.
Step 5: just before serving add spring onion, basil and mixed greens or spinach. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
Step 6: drain pasta (always keeping some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if necessary!) Toss pasta in sauce and coat until combined.
Serve with a good drizzle of your best olive oil and some grated Parmesan cheese if you like.