Pasta with spring vegetables — or, for that matter, any vegetables — has always been a staple of Italian cuisine. But Sirio Maccioni, the renowned Italian restaurateur who has owned Le Cirque for decades, claims to be the one to baptize it primavera in 1974. Along with Romeo Salta, and the Giambelli brothers, Sirio was at the lead in bringing the fine Italian dining experience to New York. Sirio runs a restaurant that is French by name but serves pasta primavera.
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for cooking pasta
- 1 pound capellini
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 8 ounces green beans, cut into 1- to 2-inch lengths
- 8 ounces asparagus, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch lengths
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup loosely packed basil, shredded
- 1/2 cup Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Once it is boiling, slide in the capellini, and cook until al dente. Reserve 3 cups of the pasta water.
Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat, then toss in the garlic. Once the garlic begins to sizzle, slip in the green beans, asparagus, and salt. Pour in ½ cup pasta water, then cover and let steam until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
Once the asparagus and green beans are crisp-tender, add the grape tomatoes, and cook until they begin to wrinkle, about 2-3 minutes. Pour the scallions and peas into the skillet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and ladle in about 2 cups pasta water. Bring to a rapid boil, and cook until reduced by about ½.
When the capellini is al dente, transfer it to the sauce. Pour in the cream, the remaining oil, and up to ½ cup more pasta water if the sauce is too dense. Bring to a boil, and cook until sauce coats the pasta; toss with the basil. Remove from heat, and toss with the cheese.