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Pasta Primavera with Asparagus and Peas

This 15 minute pasta primavera with asparagus and peas is the perfect dish to welcome spring! Cherry tomatoes add a pop of red, and a buttery creamy primavera sauce makes it over the top delish!

Another really easy pasta recipe is this creamy chickpea pasta with spinach and rosemary. Have a look:)

pasta primavera with asparagus, peas, and cherry tomatoes in a plate with fork.

Celebrate the arrival of spring by making this pasta primavera packed with lightly sautéed spring vegetables. The word ‘primavera’ means spring in Italian, although you’ll be surprised to know that pasta primavera is more of an American invention than Italian. But whatever its country of origin, I’m happy to make it! And why just in spring? It is such an easy, adaptable recipe that I find myself making it any time of the year, literally.

And if you like vegetarian pasta dinners, do check out this broccoli and kale pasta recipe too. It is ultra creamy and delish!

Ingredients

Note: exact amounts are mentioned in the recipe card further down.

  • Spaghettini noodles – spaghettini is just the thinner version of spaghetti and cooks faster than spaghetti. Of course, you can use regular spaghetti if you want. In fact, any kind of pasta will work in this recipe.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Small onion or a large shallot, sliced fine
  • Garlic, minced
  • Asparagus, hard ends cut off , tops intact
  • Green peas – fresh or frozen
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved

For the primavera sauce

  • Butter, salted – oodles of it!
  • Milk
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground

Instructions

1. Prep the vegetables

  • Slice the onion.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves.
  • Cut off the ends of the asparagus.

2. Cook the pasta

  • Fill a large pot with 8-10 cups of water. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a few drops cooking oil. Set it on high heat and bring to a boil (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the spaghettini to the boiling water and separate the strands with a fork. Cook for about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and keep it aside. Reserve a little water before draining. Though not necessary, you might want to add a little to the pasta later to loosen it.
  • While the pasta is cooking, go ahead with the next two steps. Sauté the veggies and get the primavera sauce started. This will save you time!

3. Sauté the veggies

  • Swirl the olive oil in a skillet set over medium high heat and add the onion and garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes or until slightly softened.
  • Add the asparagus and peas and sauté for 3 minutes stirring often. Switch off the heat and add the cherry tomatoes. Keep aside. 

4. Make the primavera sauce

  • Add butter to a large pan set on medium heat. When it starts bubbling, add the milk, cheese, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Whisk for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth.

5. Assemble the pasta primavera

  • Add the sautéed vegetables and pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve warm.
Pasta primavera with asparagus, peas, and cherry tomatoes in a pan.

Top tips

  • If the sauce is thin, add some more parmesan. If it is thick, loosen with more milk or the reserved pasta water.
  • If you’re using pre-grated parmesan, the sauce won’t be as as smooth as when you grate a block of cheese by hand. This does not make any difference to the taste. And anyway, the noodles are going to drink up all the sauce pretty fast unless you make a LOT of sauce!
  • If you are cooking the pasta at the same time as preparing the sauce, there’s really no need to drain it and run it under cold water. Just use a pair of large tongs to remove the pasta from the water, shake off the excess and drop into the sauce. You’ll save yourself from washing that colander!
  • Don’t have raw garlic? Put half a teaspoon garlic powder in the sauce while it’s simmering.
  • For even more green, garnish the pasta with the fresh herbs of your choice. I like to sprinkle a few basil leaves on the pasta as it’s so easily available in the summer, but really, you can use up any herb that you might happen to have on hand.

Variations

  • The parmesan in this recipe does not make it suitable for vegetarians and vegans because the cheese has animal enzymes. However, there’s a very quick workaround to this. Simply use a vegetarian parm. Earth Island (no affiliate link) carries a parmesan style cheese that is very close to the real thing, and it is vegan and dairy free. This is the one I have tried, but I’m sure there are other options out there.
  • Want to switch up the veggies? Go right ahead and use any vegetables you like. Some good options are mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, summer squash, sugar snap peas… you get the picture.

Serving suggestions

Although pasta primavera is pretty filling on its own, you can ramp up the interest by serving it with a salad, soup or bread on the side. Here are a few ideas:

pasta primavera with asparagus, peas, and cherry tomatoes in a bowl with spoon.
Pasta primavera with asparagus, peas, and cherry tomatoes in a plate with a fork.

Pasta Primavera with Asparagus and Peas

Saima Zaidi
This 15 minute pasta primavera with asparagus and peas is the perfect dish to welcome spring! Cherry tomatoes add a pop of red and a buttery creamy primavera sauce makes it over the top delish!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 387 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large pot for boiling the pasta
  • 1 skillet or frypan for sautéing the vegetables
  • 1 large pan for making the sauce and assembling the pasta
  • pair of large tongs

Ingredients
 
 

For the pasta

  • 12 oz spaghettini
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cooking oil

For sautéed vegetables

  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 onion small
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 ½ cups green peas frozen or fresh
  • 15 cherry tomatoes

For primavera sauce

  • 4 tbsp butter salted
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese grated
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Wash and prep the vegetables. Slice the onion, mince the garlic, halve the cherry tomatoes, and cut off the tough ends of the asparagus.

Boil the pasta

  • Fill a large pot with water. Add the salt and cooking oil. Set it on high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Add the spaghettini to the boiling water and separate the strands with a fork. Cook for about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta.

Sauté the vegetables

  • Swirl the olive oil in a skillet set over medium high heat and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for about 2 minutes or until slightly softened.
  • Add the asparagus and peas and sauté for 3 minutes stirring often. Switch off the heat and add the cherry tomatoes. Keep aside. 

Make the primavera sauce

  • Add butter to a large pan set on medium heat. When it starts bubbling, add the milk, cheese, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Whisk for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth.

Assemble the pasta primavera

  • Add the sautéed vegetables and pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve warm.

Notes

  1. If the sauce is thin, add some more parmesan. If it is thick, loosen with more milk or the reserved pasta water.
  2. You can follow through with the other steps while the pasta is boiling. If so, there’s no need to drain the pasta and run it under cold water. Just use a pair of large tongs to remove the pasta from the water, shake off the excess and drop into the sauce.
  3. If you don’t have raw garlic, you can put half a teaspoon garlic powder into the sauce while it’s simmering.
  4. For even more green, garnish the pasta with the fresh herbs of your choice, like basil. 

Nutrition

Calories: 387kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 17gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 1220mgPotassium: 550mgFiber: 6gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1201IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 248mgIron: 3mg
Keyword pasta primavera with spring vegetables
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