|Place of origin||Canada|
|Region or state||Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia|
|Main ingredient(s)||Pasta, vegetables, soffritto (garlic, olive oil)|
Pasta primavera is a dish that consists of pasta and fresh vegetables. A meat such as chicken is sometimes added, but the focus of primavera is the vegetables themselves. The dish may contain almost any kind of vegetable, but cooks tend to stick to firm, crisp vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, peas, onions and green bell peppers, with tomatoes. Pasta primavera is usually highlighted by light flavors, aromatic herbs and bright colors ("primavera" meaning "spring"). Classic primavera sauce is based on a soffritto of garlic and olive oil, and finished with Parmesan cheese. However versions further enriched by, or based on, a heavier cream are also common. Though recipes for cold pasta primavera may be found, they are best classified as antipasti, or appetizers.
Pastas served with this dish are typically smaller shapes, such as penne. If using longer types of pasta, such as fettuccine, the vegetables are normally sliced in thin strips to match the shape of the noodles.
Since primavera means spring, the vegetable choices should be the crisp new vegetables of spring.
In 1975, New York chef Sirio Maccioni flew to the Canadian summer home of Italian baron Carlo Amato, called Shangri-La Ranch located on Robert's Island, Nova Scotia. Maccioni and his two top chefs began experimenting with game and fish, but eventually the baron and his guests wanted something different. Maccioni then mixed butter, cream, and cheese with vegetables and pasta together and brought the recipe back to New York. The fame of pasta primavera traces back to the New York restaurant Le Cirque, where it first appeared as an unlisted special before it was made famous through an 1977 article in the New York Times by Craig Claborne and Pierre Franey which included a recipe for the dish. The invention of the dish is contested. Le Cirque co-owner Serio Macchioni claimed that his wife Egidiana threw it together from ingredients on hand during a trip to Nova Scotia; Ed Giobbi, an amateur cook himself, claims to have shown Macchioni and Jean Vergnes (then chef at Le Cirque) a similar dish which Vergnes then slightly modified. All accounts agree that Vergnes refused to allow the dish to be prepared in the kitchen, so that the many requests for it had to be satisfied with a pot set up in a hallway. The combination of lightly cooked vegetables and pasta, which Claiborne and Franey hailed as "by far, the most talked-about dish in Manhattan", is widely recognized as one of the signature developments of American cuisine in the 1970s.
- Pasta Primascotia anyone? CBC News
- "Food Dictionary: alla Primavera". Epicurious.com.
- Fabricant, Florence (March 20, 1991). "What Makes Food Italian? Don't Ask American Chefs". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
- Speaking of Spring Cornwall Standard Freeholder
- Kamp, David (2006). The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation. New York: Broadway Books. pp. 223–225.
- Liberman, Sherri (2011). American Food by the Decades. Greenwood. p. 191.
- Mariani, John F. (2011). How Italian Food Conquered the World. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 206, 207.
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