The title of this dish is a bit of an oxymoron — the word “primavera” means springtime in Italian. But, generally, when we think of pasta primavera, we think of pasta with a chorus of vegetables from any season. With roasted tomatoes, corn and zucchini, this pasta primavera is an ode to summer. It is a modern version of the classic pasta primavera made popular in the 1970s by Le Cirque restaurant in New York City that a food columnist called “by far, the most talked-about dish in Manhattan.” The dish is rich in flavor so it’s perfect as a main course, but it also makes a fantastic side to grilled chicken or Italian sausage.

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes, Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Summer pasta primavera. Image courtesy Once Upon a Chef.

SHOPPING LIST FOR SUMMER PASTA PRIMAVERA

    • 1¼ pounds (2 pints) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
    • 4 shallots, thinly sliced 
    • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
    • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1½ teaspoons sugar
    • 1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-inch chunks
    • 1½ cups fresh corn kernels, from 2 ears corn
    • 12 ounces fusilli (or similar shape) pasta
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (see note)
    • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • ½ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
    • ½ cup tightly packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
    • ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted (see note)

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
    2. Combine the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, olive oil, salt and sugar on the prepared baking sheet. Toss with your hands or a rubber spatula until the vegetables are evenly coated. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are just starting to brown.
    3. Remove the pan from the oven and add the zucchini and corn. Toss with a rubber spatula (the tomatoes will collapse; that’s OK) and spread into an even layer. Roast for 5 minutes more, until the zucchini and corn are tender-crisp.
    4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain, then add the pasta back to the pan.
    5. Add the roasted vegetables and all their juices to the pasta, along with the butter, herbes de Provence, red pepper flakes, pecorino Romano, basil and pine nuts. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
    6. Spoon into pasta bowls and drizzle with olive oil, if desired. Serve with more grated cheese.

Note: Herbes de Provence can be found in the spice section of your supermarket. Most markets carry it but if you can’t find it, dried thyme may be substituted. 

Note: To toast the pine nuts, put them in a dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until golden in spots, about three minutes.

Top image courtesy Once Upon a Chef.