This classic version of pasta primavera has been served at Felidia from the very beginning. It’s a favorite of Tanya and Joe, who grew up at Felidia and spent many hours there doing homework and having meals with family and friends, while I was busy working in the kitchen or greeting clients. Now, when spring is here, Chef Nicotra carries on the tradition.
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- 4 ounces thin green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 8 ounces asparagus, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths (about 1/2 bunch)
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 pound dried fusilli
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, shredded
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook until sizzling, about 1 minute. Once the garlic is sizzling, add the green beans and asparagus. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Ladle in 1/2 cup pasta water, cover the skillet, and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Uncover the skillet, add the grape tomatoes, and cook until they begin to wrinkle, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the scallions, peas, cream, and 1/2 cup pasta water. Simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the fusilli to the boiling water and cook until just al dente. Transfer the pasta to the sauce, sprinkle with the basil, and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding a little more pasta water if it seems dry.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and discard the garlic. Sprinkle with the grated Grana Padano, toss, and serve immediately.
VARIATION: Omit the tomatoes. Instead of the shredded basil, make a quick pesto in the food processor with 4 cups fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Add the pesto to the sauce when you add the fusilli, and toss well. (You may need to add a little more pasta water at this point as well, if the pesto thickens the sauce too much.)