Food recipe: Good enough to serve a dinner party

Sure, we are all trying to get away from butter and cream (fat and calories and cholesterol, oh my). But sometimes (sometimes, mind you), it pays to break the rules. especially in the gorgeous Pasta Primavera food recipe from Saveur.

Not familiar with Saveur? It specializes in regional cuisine. So some of the recipes are quite heavy in calories. And some ask for ingredients that are unfamiliar or hard-to-find. And some are a surprising amount of work.

But all are fascinating. And well worth browsing if you want to broaden your horizons.

Just watch the fat content, however, unless you want to broaden your waistline, too.

Lots of nice veg in this one. Oh, and you can substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock in this recipe, if you like. I know. I have.
Food recipe: Pasta Primavera
SERVES 4
Sirio Maccioni, the well-known restaurateur of Le Cirque fame, has been acknowledged for creating this dish.

Salt
1 medium zucchini, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and cut
crosswise into 1/4"-thick pieces
1 medium yellow summer squash, trimmed, quartered
lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/4"-thick pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh shelled green peas
Florets from 1 lb. broccoli
8 spears asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise into
thirds
6 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
16 button mushrooms, stemmed, caps quartered
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1 lb. spaghetti
3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1/4 cup chicken stock
4 tbsp. butter, softened
12–14 leaves basil, shredded

1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Put zucchini and squash into a sieve, blanch for 30 seconds, transfer to a large bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking further, then gently shake sieve to remove excess water, transfer vegetables to a small bowl, and set aside. Repeat blanching and cooling process with the peas, broccoli, and asparagus, in that order, setting vegetables aside in separate bowls.

2. Heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté zucchini and squash and broccoli until just beginning to brown, 2–3 minutes. Add peas, one-third of the garlic, and salt to taste, sauté for 1 minute, then transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and set aside. Wipe skillet clean. Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat and sauté mushrooms until golden brown, 2–3 minutes. Add pine nuts and sauté until golden, 1–2 minutes. Add half the garlic and salt to taste, sauté for 30 seconds, then transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside. Wipe skillet clean. Heat 1 tbsp. of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, sauté asparagus until lightly browned, about 1 minute, then transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. oil, tomatoes, remaining garlic, and salt to taste to the skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until tomatoes break apart and release their juice, 3–4 minutes. Cover and set aside.

3. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat until just cooked through, 10–12 minutes. Meanwhile, boil 2 1/2 cups of the cream in a large skillet over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, 5–6 minutes. Stir in parmigiano and salt to taste. Drain pasta, add to skillet with cream, and cook, stirring often, until pasta absorbs sauce, 2–3 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup cream, stock and butter, and stir constantly until sauce thickens, 1–2 minutes.

4. Divide pasta among four warm bowls. Dividing quantities equally, top pasta with zucchini-broccoli mixture, mushroom mixture, tomato sauce, and asparagus, in that order. Garnish with basil.
Family and friends
This is one of those dishes fancy enough to serve at a dinner party, rich enough that non-vegetarians won't miss the meat, and easy enough that you can actually enjoy the meal. Pretty good, eh?

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow
On our last day of food recipes from heavy-hitter publications, we will visit ... yet another major publication! Proving, once again, that Almost Vegetarian food recipes can be found all over the place. What luck!