I hesitate to call this a ‘recipe’, because mostly it’s a “try to use up whatever is in the fridge and make it taste good” kind of a thing. We had a ton of beautiful vegetables from our latest CSA box and I was so excited about using them! I decided on a pasta primavera so I could taste several of the veggies at once. Now, this is a go-to meal for me when we have fresh veggies around the house, and I never quite make it the same way twice, so I’ll just share the basic technique and a pretty photo.
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
- uncooked chicken, shrimp, sausage, or other meat (optional; I used two chicken thighs and cut them into small pieces)
- A combination of your favorite vegetables; I used 1/2 of a red bell pepper, 1 large carrot, a handful of mushrooms, a handful of green beans, a few baby yellow squash, and a tomato)
- handful fresh basil, chopped
- sprig fresh parsley, chopped
- cooked pasta
- grated parmesan cheese
The technique is the key with this dish. When you’re chopping vegetables, keep long-cooking veggies with long-cooking veggies and short-cooking veggies with short-cooking veggies. I kept the carrots and bell pepper together (and if I’d had celery in the house, it would have gone in with them), added the mushrooms and tomato (this was a big tomato, without a ton of flavor, but if I’d had little cherry tomatoes I might have added them at the end so they still tasted very fresh) next, and followed that with the beans and yellow squash (which would have gone in with the mushrooms if it would have been more mature – as it was, I ate an entire baby squash whole because it was so sweet and tender).
So the idea is this: In a large frying pan over medium heat, swirl the olive oil. Throw in the onion and cook it until it starts to soften and look translucent. Add the garlic with just a dash of salt and some cracked pepper – I undersalt because I like to add lots of salty parmesan on top – and add the harder long-cooking vegetables and cook for 5-7 minutes or until they begin to soften (the carrots won’t be soft at the end, but rather sort of crisp and fresh). Add the chicken or other meat (if using; if you’re using shrimp, wait a bit) and cook until it doesn’t look totally raw anymore, but it’s still not cooked through (2-3 minutes). Add the medium-cooking vegetables (mushrooms, large tomatoes, large zucchini, etc., and shrimp, if you’re using it) and cook until they begin to soften (2-3 minutes). Add the short-cooking vegetables and cook until they begin to soften (1-2 minutes). Toss the cooked pasta with the primavera sauce and top with lots of grated parmesan cheese!
It’s a beautiful way to use fresh veggies, a fast and easy dinner, and so incredibly flavorful. Use whatever you like, or whatever you have in the fridge. Just be careful to separate your veggies as you cut them so you can add them at the right time.