May is here, and the weather has finally improved. We’re looking forward to getting into some spring cooking, starting with this colorful pasta primavera from Renee Shields Farr, owner of the Sapore Oil & Vinegar shop in Eastern Market. Made with rainbow-striped bow-tie pasta, it’s a pretty dish to bring to a potluck picnic.
Renee Shields Farr’s Pasta Primavera
10 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
1 cup green peas
½ pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pint yellow pear tomatoes
1 pound bow-tie pasta, such as Torrino rainbow farfalline
Kosher salt to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ stick unsalted butter
⅔ cup heavy cream
¼ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup chiffonade of fresh basil*
Sea salt and freshly cracked white peppercorns to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Separately blanch asparagus, zucchini, peas, and yellow squash for 30 seconds each. Transfer each to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking; set aside to drain in colander. Blanch green beans for 2 minutes and repeat ice water and draining process. Set aside.
Return salted water to boil and cook pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in colander. Add heavy cream, butter, and garlic to empty hot pasta pot and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Stir in cheese and gently add pasta. Season to taste. Fold in cooked vegetables and tomatoes, and season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, sprinkle with basil.
*If fresh basil is not available, Shields Farre suggests using basil-infused olive oil and topping the dish with chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley.