Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera

1 lb. penne pasta, cooked al dente – see instructions on package
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup red onion, sliced ½ inch thick in half-moon strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup fresh carrots, cut into ¼-inch sticks, 2 inches long
½ cup white wine
1 cup crimini or button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup sugar snap peas, whole
1 cup tomatoes, diced
½ cup water
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, stems removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup basil, cut julienne style, to garnish

Sauté the red onion and olive oil over medium to low heat for two to three minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and carrots, and cook for two more minutes.

Deglaze the pan with white wine and cook over medium heat for three to four minutes until the wine is reduced by half (this process removes the flavor bits from the bottom of the pan and incorporates them into the sauce).

Add the mushrooms, sugar snap peas and tomatoes and cook for two to three minutes over medium-low heat. Add pasta noodles and water, stirring the mixture to coat all the pieces. Add the spinach and continue cooking for one to two minutes until spinach starts to wilt.

Add the butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and mix together well. To serve, garnish with basil, more Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Tip: Always season your pasta water with salt before adding the pasta. A good rule of thumb is at least one tablespoon of kosher salt for every four quarts of water.