Welcome Spring: Creamy Parmesan Primavera Pasta

One of the first signs of spring around my household: baseball is back on tv!  I’m not the baseball fan (that would be my husband) but that nostalgic reminder of impending warm weather is always a relief.

My favorite sign of spring: it’s no longer dark at 4 pm!  We had daylight until 7pm last weekend and, yes, I definitely noted the time when the sun set. There is nothing like the first long, sunny day to instantly transform your mood.

That’s what winter is for, right?  Helps you appreciate the little things.

Another right-up-there-at-the-top sign of spring?  Fresh asparagus and wild mushrooms in abundance at the local grocery!

When I saw the big sale on asparagus, I knew I wanted to welcome spring with a delicious Primavera pasta dish.

The creamy parmesan sauce in this dish is amazingly delicious.

It’s so good, I wasn’t sure whether to list the ‘Servings’ count as ‘2’ or ‘4’.

It should serve four, but then my meat-and-potatoes-guy and I finished nearly the whole dish in one sitting.

Because you have to go back for seconds – it’s just too much creamy, cheesy deliciousness not to.

Here are all the key ingredients you’ll need to get started.

Begin by boiling a big pot of water and adding plenty of salt.

Then cook up some linguine until it’s al dente (just barely cooked through).

In the meantime, mince some garlic.

Place a knife over a clove of garlic so it lies flat.

And then press down hard with the palm of your hand to break open the clove.

Then mince up the garlic.

Cut the ends off a shallot and cut it in half.

Peel off the skins.

Place the halves flat-side-down on the cutting board.

And cut thin slices of shallot.

Saute the garlic and shallots in a bit of extra virgin olive oil.

Next, prepare the asparagus.

I think asparagus, with its crisp, peppery flavor, tastes amazing with creamy pasta dishes.

And it’s extremely healthy too.  Asparagus has a lot of Vitamin C (for a healthy immune system and smooth, clear skin), tons of fiber (to keep you feeling full with very few calories), and tons of folate (may protect against Alzheimer’s).

Asparagus is so easy to prepare too.

Just grab several stocks, hold them together, and chop off the ends. You should cut off about the bottom third of the stalks. The ends are too tough to eat.

Then just cut the stalks into quarter-inch slices.  Done!

Add the asparagus to the sauté pan and season with salt and pepper.

Next, chop up some mushrooms.

My husband thought the oyster mushrooms looked great at the grocery, so he chose those.

But substitute your favorite kind!

To prepare oyster mushrooms, just chop off the base and then rinse the mushrooms well.

Then chop them up and add to the sauté pan.

Add some sun-dried tomatoes to introduce some concentrated tomato flavor to the dish.

Just rinse off any excess oil (the extra oil isn’t necessary in this dish and just adds calories), and chop up the tomato halves.

Add those to the pan as well and season well with salt and pepper.

Turn off the heat and add a bit of low-fat sour cream and some nutmeg.

I like using low-fat sour cream as a substitute to cream and butter in creamy pasta dishes.  It adds a lot of rich flavor with less than half the saturated fat and calories.

Grate some fresh Parmigiano Reggiano.

And add the parmesan and the cooked pasta to the pan.

Stir everything together…

…and serve!

With the creamy, cheesy sauce, the crisp, bright asparagus and the rich, earthy mushrooms, this dish is really satisfying and flavorful.

It tastes very, very indulgent.

And yet the whole wheat pasta and all the veggies make it healthy!

This recipe may serve four.

Or it may serve two, depending upon how much you’re able to resist seconds.

And thirds…

Enjoy welcoming spring!

Here is the complete printable recipe:

Creamy Parmesan Primavera Pasta
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Healthy Pasta Dish
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound asparagus, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 ounces sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
  • ½ cup low-fat sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 6 ounces whole wheat linguine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil a large pot of water. Salt the water and add the linguine. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Saute the garlic and shallots until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes more. Add the chopped mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream and nutmeg. Add the cooked pasta and the grated parmesan. Stir everything to combine. Serve.

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46 Comments

  1. April 11, 2012 / 1:31 pm

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I’d never think to use sour cream in place of cream and butter. What a clever idea!

  2. April 11, 2012 / 1:45 pm

    It’s too early for asparagus where we live, but what a lovely dish to look forward to! I also love the sour cream substitution and the whole mix of flavours here tells me that this would only serve 2 at my house as well!

  3. April 11, 2012 / 1:55 pm

    Love everything in this dish – so this goes on file! Tanks.

  4. April 11, 2012 / 2:19 pm

    im going to have to try this, despite my um, hatred of asparagus lol. when i was growing up, my mom had a beyond uber awesome garden. she grew up on a farm in small town illinois so she could garden and garden well! she touched it and it grew abundantly. she grew asparagus and we had it every night, all.season.long. lol. one thing she did differently than you was how she got rid of the tough ends of the asparagus. she would hold both ends and “snap” the asparagus – it snapped off the hard, tough ends every time! i might try this when i make brisciola tonight (another experiment lol). thanks! 🙂

    jenny
    who will eat asparagus one night a year lol.

    • April 12, 2012 / 1:52 am

      You’re too funny! I used to do the “snap” method too, but it takes so long (all of 3 minutes) for someone as impatient (i.e. lazy) as me! 🙂

      • April 12, 2012 / 12:31 pm

        i didnt get a chance to make it last night, im bummed! but i also didnt take into account the time it takes to make the steak brisciola (or however you spell it! lol) so we had blts. ok, so thats a 2 hour ordeal that i now can prepare for tonight! after todays wanderings, i can walk nextdoor to the grocery and pick up some asparagus (shuddering) and linquini -which i have absolutely none of in the pantry. thats a first for a pasta lover like me :/

        now how do i get my gravatar to show me instead of that silly icon lol.
        jenny

      • April 12, 2012 / 5:05 pm

        You must be exhausted from all that cooking! I don’t blame you if you don’t get to the pasta dish for a while! 🙂

  5. April 11, 2012 / 2:35 pm

    Yum! Creamy sauce without all the cream and butter? Yes, please! The asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes are so pretty in it, too.

  6. April 11, 2012 / 2:35 pm

    mmmm, sounds wonderful. I see pasta night coming up on Friday!

  7. April 11, 2012 / 5:25 pm

    This looks so lovely! I love your idea of using low fat sour cream to get that creamy consistency and flavor. And I am a big fan of post-4pm daylight as well – does wonders for the mood!

  8. April 11, 2012 / 7:50 pm

    Looking over the recipe, I understand why it might only serve 2! Looks great. Thanks for sharing.

  9. April 12, 2012 / 1:25 am

    Oh yum! This looks wonderful and so delicious!

  10. April 12, 2012 / 3:51 am

    We are heading into winter but I love the idea…might swap the asparagus for spinach…:-)

  11. April 12, 2012 / 5:00 am

    That creamy parmesan sauce sounds incredibly divine. And I’m loving ALL the ingredients in here. I actually just bought a bunch of asparagus and I was wondering how I’d use them up but now I have the perfect recipe 🙂

  12. April 12, 2012 / 1:38 pm

    Ohh I love sundried tomatoes…I just made a pasta salad last night and stuck some in. Looks wonderful

  13. April 12, 2012 / 3:40 pm

    Sounds and looks delicious! Fresh asparagus is one of my fav signs of spring! In my house growing up, early signs of spring meant the opening day debate… some of us think baseball, the rest think fishing. 🙂

  14. April 12, 2012 / 4:05 pm

    I am definitely going to make this in the next few days. It’s so lovely and springy!

  15. April 12, 2012 / 4:44 pm

    Love all the great veggies you included here – this is a pasta dish with the colors of Italy! 🙂 Think I could sub Greek yogurt for the sour cream? I always have some on hand.

    • April 12, 2012 / 5:00 pm

      I think that might work. I’ve tried using just a dollop of sour cream with milk, and that was a bit bland. But Greek yogurt may add enough creaminess to work well! 🙂

  16. April 12, 2012 / 7:30 pm

    While I love that it’s no longer dark at 4 pm, the sunshine at 6 pm makes me procrastinate all the more, because I’m still thinking it’s 1 pm 🙁

    • April 13, 2012 / 3:00 am

      Oh I remember those days of putting off writing a paper until 6pm, then 8pm, then (oh no where did the night go!) 11pm… 🙂

      • April 13, 2012 / 4:15 am

        I seem to be saying that a lot lately: “What the heck, HOW IS IT 6 PM?!” Haha its the daylight! It keeps fooling me, making me think I still have the entire afternoon ahead of me 🙁

  17. April 12, 2012 / 7:42 pm

    This looks really tasty and something I want to try. The husband has been scouting around for fresh asparagus in the ditches in our rural area.

  18. April 12, 2012 / 8:21 pm

    This dish looks SO naughty but you’ve been so clever with the ingredients that it will definitelyly be a 2 portion meal in my household! Great recipe as always x

  19. April 12, 2012 / 9:09 pm

    Can’t wait to try this dish that serves 1-2 people LOL! Not sure of leftovers on this one.

    One trick for the ends of asparagus – hold the stalk, and lightly bend it at the bottom. It will break off at the “soft” spot, and you’ll save a lot more to eat that way. It’s so funny to watch it break off where it wants to!

    • April 13, 2012 / 3:06 am

      That’s a great trick I should have thought to mention in the post! I find it saves time to bypass the “snap” method and just chop off the ends from several stalks at once (I’m a lazy individual). But I think it’s definitely the best method when you’re unsure just how much of the ends to remove! 🙂

  20. April 12, 2012 / 10:41 pm

    Oyster mushrooms! Great minds think alike 🙂 I can’t wait for asparagus season to begin here!

  21. April 13, 2012 / 3:26 pm

    This pasta looks creamy and delicious. Wonderful flavors and the photos are simply gorgeous. First time reader and I’m very excited about your site. Guilt free and delicious. So glad to have found you. Have a fabulous weekend!

  22. April 14, 2012 / 7:12 am

    What a yummy pasta dish! The colors are amazing! Perfect for the spring!

  23. April 16, 2012 / 10:29 pm

    guess what?!?!? i got over my life long hatred of asparagus lol! i found some uber fresh asparagus at a local amish market (i live in amish country and the produce does not get any better than that!). i didnt have the sun dried tomatos and i totally forgot the parmesean cheese (i hang my head in shame) but i tweaked it a little and it turned out so unbelievably awesome that i cant get over it! my old man emphatically said I WANT THIS AGAIN! you were right on the sauce – it needs just a little more but still, it is now one of my favorite meals!

    thank you so much!
    jenny

    • April 20, 2012 / 5:58 pm

      Sorry I’m just now replying, I’m just back from vacation. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And glad you’re liking asparagus in your pasta 🙂 Thanks so much for letting me know how it turned out for you!

  24. April 17, 2012 / 3:01 am

    Yum! I love a good pasta, it’s my ultimate comfort food. I’m gonna have to try this one next time.

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