Classic Pasta Primavera
Classic Pasta Primavera

One of the classic pasta recipes of our time, Pasta Primavera is made with angel hair pasta, a rich butter and cream sauce, Parmesan cheese and lots of fresh vegetables. Serve it with your favorite white wine!

Pasta Primavera. The name alone is reminiscent of the 1980s, nouveau cuisine and bad food clichés. In its classic form, believed to have been invented by the chefs at New York City’s Le Cirque restaurant in the late 1970s, primavera is a riot of botanicals topped with butter, cream, and lots of Parmesan cheese.

Why revive Pasta Primavera at all?

Because despite all the jokes, it was – and is – a good meal. Any of us who ate in style in the late 1970s, or really anywhere in the 1980s, ate it at some point in our lives.

I ate it a lot. My mum first had it at Le Cirque around 1979 and was so thrilled with it that she learned how to make it.

The best pasta for Pasta Primavera

My mom made her primavera with angel hair noodles, a paper-thin version of spaghetti that cooks in seconds. It has a nice mouthfeel and really makes the cream and cheese lighter when you eat it.

But angel hair congeals into a clump in minutes, so don’t prepare the pasta until the sauce is ready and don’t wait to serve—the angel hair needs to get from the pot to the plate right away.

Angel hair, also called capellini, is readily available in most supermarkets. Can you use regular old spaghetti? You bet. That’s what they ended up using in Le Cirque.


Check out this delicious pasta primavera recipe

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Pasta Primavera should stay fresh for several days when refrigerated in an airtight container. To reheat, heat in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Alternatively, you can reheat it in the microwave. If necessary, stir in a little more water to loosen the sauce.

More classic pasta recipes to try!

  • Pasta Carbonara
  • Pasta e fagioli
  • Pasta Puttanesca
  • Chicken Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs

From the editors of Simply Recipes

Classic Pasta Primavera

preparation time
20 minutes

cooking time
10 mins

total time
30 minutes

4 servings

If your sauce is getting too thick or the cheese is clumping together, try stirring in a little more water or broth.


  • 1 accumulate Cup broccoli florets

  • 4 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1 inch segments

  • 1/2 Cup snow peas

  • 1/2 lb angel hair paste or spaghetti

  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped

  • 1 small Zucchini, rolled

  • 3 Roma or other paste tomatoescored and diced

  • 1/4 Cup chicken or vegetables share

  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 Cup Peas, fresh or frozen

  • 1/2 Cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 12 basil leaves, chopped

  • Kosher salt


  1. Blanch broccoli, asparagus, snow peas:

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt well. It should taste like the sea. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Cook the broccoli for 1 minute.

    Add the asparagus and cook another minute. Add the snow peas and cook for another 30 seconds.

    Remove all the vegetables and plunge them into the ice water. Once cool, drain in a colander.

    If you’d like, you can cook your pasta in the same pot you cooked the veggies in, or you can start over and boil new water. I use the same water.

  2. Fry the zucchini and garlic, then add the tomatoes:

    In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is hot, add the garlic and zucchini and sauté for 1 minute.

    Add the diced tomatoes and sauté an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

  3. Add broth, cream, blanched vegetables, and peas:

    Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock and turn the heat to high to bring to a boil.

    Add the cream and toss in all the veggies you cooked, plus the peas. Stir to combine.

    Reduce the heat until the cream and chicken broth mixture is just simmering, not boiling.

  4. Add the parmesan:

    Add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine. If the sauce seems too thick—it should be quite thick but not sticky—add a little more chicken broth, cream, or water.

  5. Cook pasta:

    If using spaghetti, you should start cooking before you start sautéing the garlic and zucchini. Angel hair only needs 1 to 2 minutes to cook, vermicelli or spaghetti can take 8 to 12 minutes.

  6. Toss and serve the noodles:

    Once the pasta is done, use tongs to drop it into the sauce and stir to combine.

    Now add the basil and taste for salt. Add salt if necessary. Grind some black pepper over everything and serve immediately.

    You want a dry white wine to go with it, ideally a dry French white wine.

nutritional information (per serving)
411 calories
27g Fat
33g carbohydrates
12g protein
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