Pasta primavera is quite a straightforward recipe - spaghetti or fettuccine tossed with an array of fresh spring vegetables. When done right, this is one of the year's great seasonal recipes. This looks, smells, and tastes like a cool, sunny spring day.
The thing I can't figure out is how chefs, particularly one running large hotel kitchens, came to call any pasta with vegetables, "pasta primavera." If you order this dish in one of those establishments, you will probably get a plate of pasta, with a heavy cream sauce, some black bits of oxidized basil, and large, undercooked chunks of vegetables, usually of the summer and fall variety.
Unfortunately for many chefs, this recipe serves as a way to clean out the walk-in of past-their-prime vegetables (Mmm…old squash and bell peppers), instead of what it should be - a celebration for the return of fresh green veggies.You will see a great "chefs secret" in this video recipe for keeping the basil bright green. In fact, the second photo here shows the leftovers after 24 hours. They are still beautiful, and didn't turn that nasty grey-green-brown hue that affects leftover basil-based sauces.
I like to choose as many different green vegetables as I can get my hands on for this dish. I managed to include seven varieties, and could have added a few more without a problem. I'll admit, this one does take much more slicing and dicing than I usually subject you to, but the effort will be rewarded with a pasta worthy of its name. Enjoy!
1/2 cup olive oil plus 2 tbsps
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 large leek (dark green parts trimmed off and discarded), chopped, washed thoroughly
2 jalapeno, diced
1 bunch basil
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic
2 green zucchini, diced
1/2 cup freshly shucked peas
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 bunch asparagus, stalks diced, tips left whole
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, or as needed
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 pound fettuccine