© 2024 WYPR
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pasta Primavera

Pasta primavera in a white bowl with a fork and knife to the left
Marco Verch via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Pasta primavera

What a long, glorious Spring we've been having. I feel that nearly everyone is celebrating the beauty of the season, cutting bouquets of flowers and whipping up endless variations on asparagus or strawberry. Our friends in Italy are certainly not immune to the charm of the season. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino is proud to say, they even have a dish named after this time of year.

The Italian word for Spring is "primavera", literally "first green", and it is a very apt name. The famous dish, Pasta Primavera, takes its basic concept directly from the first green vegetables that pop up early in the season.

According to Jerry, many American interpretations of Pasta Primavera get it all wrong. Instead of using the first green veggies of the year, they throw in any old thing, and that's just not right. Peas, asparagus, ramps, green beans, spring onions, green garlic are all suitable. Tomatoes, yellow squash, red onions or yellow corn are not.

So if you want to make a correct version of the dish, simply follow this recipe that Jerry has come up with.

Pasta Primavera


1lb penne pasta, cooked al dente

1 cup fresh green peas

12 asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces

¼ cup green garlic, chopped

2 spring onions, chopped

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

¼ cup white wine

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 whole chive flowers pulled apart into petals (optional)

In a large pan heat the oil until just smoking over medium heat. Add the green garlic, spring onion and red pepper flakes and cook until soft. Add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cooked pasta and cook until heated through. Add the cheese and chives, cook for one minute more then spoon into bowls. Garnish with chive flowers and serve.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.