A Bittman-inspired Pasta Primavera

A few weeks ago, The New York Times‘s Mark Bittman wrote a column called “Pasta Primavera: The Remix.” Bittman explained the back story of the dish, how the name means “spring pasta” and that it was invented in the 1970s by Sirio Maccioni, the owner of the New York mainstay Le Cirque. And he, Bittman that is, goes on to offer several new and more interesting approaches to the dish.

I should say now, that I’ve never liked “pasta primavera” and wouldn’t have considered serving it to The Professor, who doesn’t really like the concept of vegetarian pastas.

But one night last week, I came down to the kitchen without a solid plan for dinner. I opened the refrigerator, rifled through the drawers, and found a bunch of kale and some asparagus. I knew I had peas and walnuts in the freezer. So, with Bittman’s inventive spirit in mind, I served a “pasta primavera” made of peas, roasted asparagus, and a pesto of kale and walnuts. And, of course, pasta — I served it with a short, shell-like pasta that would catch the pesto and other yumminess.

The Professor loved the mixture of flavors and textures. The nutty, earthy richness of the pesto. The sweet pop of the peas. The bright crispness of the asparagus.

The result: The Professor gave the dish a B+, saying, “I like it better than other vegetarian pastas we’ve tried.”  He loved the taste and “interestingness,” faulting it only for it’s ability to completely satisfy.

What can I say? I’ll work on it!

I’ll also keep track of the measurements next time so that I can post a recipe.

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