Though this plant-based Pasta Primavera uses only a half-pound of pasta, it’s so chockfull of vegetables that it makes quite a heaping helping. Though you can serve it any time of year, as its name implies, it’s an especially nice way to welcome spring, and is a pleasing main dish at spring holiday meals, such as Easter or Mother’s Day. Serve with a simple salad of fresh greens.
Serves: 4 to 6
- 1/2 pound short pasta such as rotini or penne, preferably whole grain
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 heaping cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 2 heaping cups broccoli, cut into small florets
- 12 stalks slender asparagus or 8 medium-thick, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 heaping cup sliced white or brown mushrooms
- 1 medium-small yellow summer squash, diced
- 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes, oil-packed or not, as you prefer
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh
- Sliced fresh basil as desired (use lots!)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
- Vegan Parmesan cheese, optional
Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in an extra-large skillet or steep-sided stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
Add the wine and cauliflower and cook, covered, for 3 minutes.
Stir in the broccoli, asparagus, squash, and canned tomatoes, and dried herbs. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender-crisp.
When the pasta is done, drain it well and combine with the vegetables mixture right in the pan, if it’s large enough, or in a large serving bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil unless you used oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, in which case add a bit more of their oil if you’d like.
Stir in as much basil as you’d lie, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add dried hot red pepper flakes if using them.
Serve at once. If desired, pass around some vegan Parmesan cheese for topping each serving.
Variation: To make this an even heartier dish, add a 14-to-16 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups).