Pasta Primavera Recipe – Oh Sweet Basil

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This delicious and easy Pasta Primavera recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal. Loaded with fresh veggies, flavorful herbs and tossed in a creamy sauce, it’s a crowd-pleasing and healthy dish that the whole family will love.

This last weekend I really wanted something light, but still yummy, and this Pasta Primavera Recipe was perfect. We are huge asparagus fans so anything with asparagus gets us excited. Although the dish has no meat, I really don’t think you miss out on anything. In fact, the husband and I like having meatless meals every now and again as long as all of the flavor is still there. I bet you could throw in some grilled chicken or shrimp for protein and that would be sooooo good!

What Makes Something Primavera?

Primavera is an Italian word that means “spring”. In the culinary world, primavera means a dish served with a mixture of fresh seasonal vegetables usually paired with a pasta and creamy sauce.

a photo of a large white serving bowl full of cooked penne pasta tossed with fresh vegetables and topped with parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Pasta Primavera

I’m going to give you a list of the fresh vegetables that we like to use in this pasta recipe, but this is definitely a dish that you can make substitutions with your favorite veggies. Here is what you will need:

  • Penne Pasta: Any bite-sized pasta can be used, other good options would be orecchiette, rigatoni, farfalle or fusilli.
  • Vegetables: Asparagus, Yellow Squash, Matchstick Carrots, Red Bell Pepper, Red Onion, Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, and Peas
    • Other options: Broccoli, Green Beans, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts, or Zucchini
  • Sauce: Butter, Garlic, Lemon Zest and Juice, Pasta Water, Heavy Cream, and Parmesan
  • Seasoning: Dried Italian Seasoning, Red Pepper Flakes, Fresh Basil Leaves, and Fresh Curly Parsley

The measurements and details for all the ingredients in this recipe can be found in the recipe card down below.

a photo of a large white serving bowl full of cooked penne pasta, fresh vegetables, fresh herbs and lemon slices.

How to Make Pasta Primavera

  1. Boil: Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add a handful of salt.
  2. Cook: Add the pasta and cook it until al dente. Do not drain! We will use the pasta water later for the sauce.
  3. Sauté: Using a large skillet, add some olive oil and add the asparagus, onions and peppers and sauté until slightly tender and move to a plate.
  4. Cook: Add the squash and carrots to the skillet, season it with salt and pepper and cook until tender but still crisp. Move the veggies to the plate with the asparagus.
  5. Bloom: Add the butter to the skillet and add the garlic followed by the lemon zest, Italian seasoning to bloom the flavors. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start to brown.
  6. Simmer: Add the pasta water and bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer until the tomatoes start to burst. Then add the peas.
  7. Stir: Pour in the cream, lemon juice and half the cheese and stir to combine. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer.
  8. Combine: Add in all the vegetables, basil and pasta and toss to combine.
  9. Top: Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese, herbs and red pepper flakes and serve!

The complete instructions can also be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

a photo of a large serving bowl full of brightly colored pasta primavera

What is Pasta Primavera Sauce Made of?

Primavera sauce is really simple and the base of it is actually the water that the pasta cooks in. It helps thicken the beautiful sauce. We use fresh lemon juice to punch bold flavor into the sauce along with heavy cream and parmesan cheese. The sauce is so simple but really pulls the whole dish together.

What Vegetables Go Well with Pasta?

Since you need to have vegetables to make pasta primavera, let’s talk about the best ones to use. Honestly, you can use almost an vegetable you want. I am a huge vegetable love, so the more the merrier for me! We love to use veggies with big bold flavor like onions, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, etc.

How Do You Tell if Pasta is Done?

The best way to tell if pasta is done is to taste it. Pasta should be cooked to al dente, or firm to the bite.

The old saying that pasta is done if it sticks to the wall is false. If it sticks to the wall, it is over-done.

a photo of a bowl full of pasta primavera including penne pasta, sliced red bell peppers, sliced yellow squash, red onions and fresh herbs

Can You Reheat Pasta?

Reheating pasta with sauce can be done one of three ways…

Bake it at 350 degrees in a foil-covered baking dish, warm it in a sauce pan over medium-low heat, or re-heat, covered, in the microwave.

Plain pasta is best reheated on the stove top.

On the stove, bring a large pot of water to boil, fill a strainer with pasta and dip in the boiling water until hot.

How Long Will Pasta with Sauce Keep?

Cooked pasta that has been tossed with sauce will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

a photo of a large white serving bowl full of cooked penne pasta and fresh sauteed vegetables

This delicious recipe for easy Pasta Primavera is a perfect way to incorporate seasonal vegetables into your meals. With a creamy sauce and a burst of fresh flavors, this pasta dish will become a family favorite.

More Pasta Recipes:

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


This delicious and easy Pasta Primavera recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal. Loaded with fresh veggies, flavorful herbs and tossed in a creamy sauce, it’s a crowd-pleasing and healthy dish that the whole family will love.

  • 10 oz Penne, reserved pasta water
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 10 Asparagus Spears, tough ends snapped, halved lengthwise and cut on the diagonal into 3/4″ pieces
  • 1/3 Red Onion, sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 Yellow Squash, medium, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 Cup Matchstick Carrots
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter, unsalted
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, medium, pressed through a garlic press or minced
  • 1 Lemon, zested
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Pasta Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice, fresh
  • 1 Cup Peas, fresh preferred or frozen
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Curly Parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, optional

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  • Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot for the pasta.

  • Add in a good handful of salt. Add pasta. Cook al dente or until pasta is slightly undercooked. Do not drain!! Using a spider (I cannot live without mine!) remove pasta from water into a colander. Reserve cooking liquid!!

    10 oz Penne, 2 Tablespoons Salt

  • While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add the olive oil and the add the asparagus, onions and peppers. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking. Transfer to a dish.

    1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, 10 Asparagus Spears, 1/3 Red Onion, 1 Red Bell Pepper

  • Add in the yellow squash and carrots and season everything with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender, yet crisp. Transfer the vegetables to the dish with the asparagus.

    1 Yellow Squash, 1 Cup Matchstick Carrots

  • Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in the now-empty skillet over medium high heat until foamy. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds .

    3 Tablespoons Butter, 3 Cloves Garlic

  • Stir in the lemon zest, Italian Seasoning, salt again and tomatoes, cooking until the tomatoes begin to brown.

    1 Lemon, 2 teaspoons Dried Italian Seasoning, 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes

  • Add 1/2 cup of starchy cooking liquid leftover from pasta. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer for five minutes — the tomatoes should be starting to burst. If they haven’t gently push on them using the back of a wooden spoon. You only want about half to burst.

    1/2 Cup Pasta Water

  • Add the peas.

    1 Cup Peas

  • Stir in the heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice along with half of the cheese.

    2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice, 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream, 1/2 Cup Parmesan

  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 4 min.

  • Add the veggies, basil, along with the pasta into the large skillet.

    1/4 Cup Fresh Basil

  • Add remaining fresh Parmesan cheese and herbs. Top with red pepper flakes and serve!

    1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, 1 Tablespoon Fresh Curly Parsley

Left overs will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days

Serving: 1gCalories: 404kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 13gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 2537mgPotassium: 539mgFiber: 6gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 5521IUVitamin C: 52mgCalcium: 173mgIron: 2mg

Author: Sweet Basil

Course: 50 of our Best Easy Pasta Recipes, Over 500 Family Dinner Recipes Ideas

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