Pasta Primavera with Snap Peas, Spinach, and Parmesan
No need to be sneaky when it comes to getting more vegetables into tonight’s dinner: This is a pasta dish everyone will love. We stir baby spinach, peas, and sugar snap peas into a Parmesan-cream sauce, then toss with fresh spaghetti. The pasta cooks in just a couple minutes, so it gets to the table in no time. Eager helpers can practice their future chef skills by tearing the basil leaves and garnishing the plates. This is one of our easiest pastas ever, and definitely a crowd-pleaser.
- 4 ounces baby spinach
- 12 ounces sugar snap peas
- 1 lemon
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 scallions
- 1 pound fresh spaghetti
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1/8 ounce oregano
- 8 ounces heavy cream
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup peas
- 1/8 ounce basil
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Pat spinach dry with paper towel. Halve sugar snap peas lengthwise. Halve lemon. Using the flat side of a knife, gently crush garlic cloves. Trim and discard scallion roots and thinly slice, keeping whites and light greens separate from dark greens.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add sugar snap peas and cook, stirring frequently, until bright green and slightly tender, 3 minutes (they will finish cooking in Step 5). Season with .5 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Transfer sugar snap peas to a plate and set aside, reserving pan for Step 4.
Season boiling water generously with salt. Over a clean, dry surface, use your hands to gently separate spaghetti, then stir into boiling water and cook until al dente, 2-3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside (see recipe tip).
While pasta cooks, heat butter in pan from sugar snap peas over medium heat. When butter is foamy, add oregano sprigs, .66 cup cream, crushed garlic, scallion whites and light greens, half of Parmesan cheese, .5 teaspoon salt, and a generous amount of pepper (see recipe tip). Cook, whisking frequently, until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove and discard crushed garlic and oregano sprigs.
Add peas, spinach, sugar snap peas, and spaghetti to pan with sauce, still over medium heat, and toss until spinach wilts, 2 minutes. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is silky and clings to pasta. Remove pan from heat. Add juice of 1 lemon (feel free to use less, if you like). Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
Divide pasta primavera among serving plates. Sprinkle over remaining Parmesan and scallion dark greens. Roughly tear basil leaves, discarding stems, and sprinkle over pasta (this is a great task for a kitchen helper). Dig in!
All recipe ingredients should be cooked to a safe internal temperature according to USDA guidelines. After preparing a recipe, please store any leftovers in the refrigerator.