Recipes: Pasta primavera by Cynthia Ferris-Bennett
The Italians have a wonderful word, “primavera,” which means “in the style of springtime.”
This timeless term is perfect when describing what you will find at all of the local farmers markets in our area … Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. in Minden, Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lampe Park in Gardnerville, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Genoa Town Park and also on Saturday, the 3rd and Curry St. Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Carson City.
All of the market managers work hard to bring quality, weekly markets to our area … we also thank our fabulous ranchers, farmers and vendors for making the markets the success they are!
The term “primavera” also invokes images of fresh vegetables in the classic Italian dish. Everyone has their own twist on pasta primavera, and it should be a recipe that flows and changes during the season based on what’s found at farmers markets.
Here’s our version of this Italian classic utilizing only the freshest ingredients from Saturday’s Sierra Chef Farmers Market in Genoa.
1 cup fresh peas
2 bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 tricolor heirloom carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
Pasta of your choice (we chose a four cheese tortellini)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
Extra virgin olive oil
Smoked sea salt or your favorite salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat, place carrots cut-side down and sauté in butter and olive oil until they become tender and begin to caramelize. Turn several times to caramelize both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
Bring water to a boil and cook pasta. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.
In the same skillet, sauté the onions, garlic and shallots until they begin to wilt a bit. You may need to add a little more extra virgin olive oil.
Add chicken and sauté until slightly browned. Add bell peppers, peas, oregano, and thyme … sauté for two minutes. Add mushrooms and stir thoroughly. Add drained pasta, stir and add Parmesan.
Season finished dish with salt and pepper to taste.
You could also add fresh tomatoes, zucchini, fava beans, green beans … anything you like! Serve with a nice fresh loaf of Italian bread with some extra virgin olive oil for dipping.
Cynthia Ferris-Bennett is a Nevada native, owner of the Sierra Chef Culinary Center in Genoa, which specializes in weekly cooking classes, gourmet culinary pantry and market, Italian desserts and pastries. She manages the Sierra Chef Farmers Market at Lampe Park on Wednesdays and the Sierra Chef Farmers Market at Genoa Town Park on Saturdays. Cynthia is also the event manager for East Fork Ranch where Sierra Chef hosts monthly Barn Club Dinners on the last Thursday.