This pasta primavera recipe is light, fresh, and simple to make. Packed with colorful veggies, it’s the perfect easy dinner for spring or summer night.
I love to make this pasta primavera recipe after a trip to the farmers market in early summer. I come home with bags full of produce. Some contain spring veggies like asparagus and peas that will only be available for a few more weeks. Others hold summer finds like zucchini, squash, and cherry tomatoes whose season is just starting. The moment when all these spring and summer vegetables collide is so brief that I feel like I have to celebrate it. So, I cook a pot of pasta, sauté the veggies, and toss them together to make this pasta primavera recipe.
Pasta Primavera Recipe Ingredients
While pasta primavera means “spring pasta” in Italian, the dish itself is actually American. The story goes that it originated at the New York restaurant Le Cirque in the 1970s, and in the years following, it started popping up on Italian restaurant menus all over the US. The original version featured spaghetti and a rich butter and cream sauce, but these days, the name “pasta primavera” is given to all sorts of veggie pastas.
Here’s what I use in my take:
- Pasta, of course! I like to use penne pasta because the noodles are a similar size to the chopped vegetables. It makes it easy to get a little of everything in each bite!
- Garlic and red onion – For savory depth of flavor.
- Yellow squash and zucchini – Feel free to use just one or the other if you can’t find both!
- Asparagus – For complexity and crunch.
- Cherry tomatoes – They become soft and bursty, lightly coating the pasta in their juices.
- Peas – I often use thawed frozen peas, though if you happen to have fresh shell peas, you could totally blanch them and toss them in.
- Pecorino cheese – It makes the pasta lightly creamy. Parmesan cheese would be great here too!
- Fresh lemon juice – I love its bright flavor with all the fresh vegetables.
- Red pepper flakes – They add a little heat.
- Fresh basil and tarragon – They bring so much flavor to this simple pasta dish. Technically, the tarragon is optional, but if you can find it, I highly recommend using it. It really takes this recipe over the top!
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Pasta Primavera
This pasta primavera has to be one of the simplest dinner recipes on Love & Lemons. It’s so easy to make! Here’s how it goes:
First, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain it when it’s just al dente. It’ll cook a little more with the veggies on the stove, so you want to be careful not to overcook it now. Toss the pasta with a drizzle of oil to prevent sticking.
Next, sauté the veggies. I LOVE that all the vegetables cook in one pan in this recipe! Heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet, and toss in the garlic, onion, zucchini, squash, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes. It only takes a few minutes for the vegetables to soften.
Then, add the pasta, peas, cheese, and lemon juice. Toss until the cheese melts down and coats the pasta in a lightly creamy sauce. Stir in the fresh herbs, and season to taste.
Finally, garnish with more basil, and serve!
Pasta Primavera Serving Suggestions
This pasta primavera makes a fantastic meal on its own, though if you like, you could certainly pair it with a side dish or two. We love it with buttery slices of garlic bread and a side salad. Try serving it with any of these salad recipes:
More Favorite Pasta Recipes
If you love this pasta primavera recipe, try one of these fresh pasta recipes next:
Packed with seasonal veggies, this pasta primavera is a simple, fresh spring or summer dinner. I list the tarragon as optional, but I highly recommend using it to take this recipe over the top!
- 10 ounces penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 yellow squash, sliced into thin half moons
- 1 zucchini, sliced into thin half moons
- 1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- ¾ cup grated pecorino cheese
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Red pepper flakes
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup fresh tarragon, optional
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions, cooking until al dente. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, squash, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, onion, salt, and several grinds of pepper and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the pasta, peas, cheese, lemon juice, and a pinch of red pepper flakes and toss to combine. Stir in the basil and tarragon, if using.
Season to taste, garnish with more basil, and serve.