Pasta Primavera is a classic Italian dish that celebrates seasonal vegetables. Traditionally springtime vegetables are used, but you can adjust to whatever is in season spring, summer, and even early fall. Our version has the addition of chicken breast along with more traditional veggies like asparagus, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and broccoli. The real kicker that makes this recipe sing is our suggestion to serve it over light and pillowy gnocchi! Any pasta works, but gnocchi takes it to another level. Give it a try!
1lb vera pasta gnocchi
1-1.5lb boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders
1 head of broccoli
1lb of asparagus
1 yellow squash
1 cup of scallions
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of chopped basil
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
Juice of one half lemon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
optional ingredients (read below on how to use): ricotta cheese, white wine, heavy cream, chicken stock
This dish all happens pretty quickly and can be done in one large pan (and a pot for boiling gnocchi water). Just follow the order and all will be tasty and delicious!
1. Cut you chicken into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle with lemon and salt and pepper and set aside. This can be done right before cooking or up to an hour before hand.
2. Prep all your veggies. Cut the hard inch of the bottom of your asparagus then cut into bite-sized pieces. Cut broccoli, zucchini and squash into bite-sized pieces. Dice scallions and garlic.
3. Salt a pot of water and bring to a boil for the gnocchi. While you are waiting for water to boil proceed to step 4.
4. In a large sauté pan at medium heat add butter or olive oil. Next add your chicken sauté until lightly browned (about 5-8 minutes). Remove chicken from pan.
5. In the same pan begin adding your veggies. First add scallions and sauté for 2 minutes. Next add your garlic, zucchini, squash, broccoli, and asparagus and tomato. During the cooking process squeeze the remaining juice form you lemon onto the mixture. If you have a bit of white wine or chicken stock around you can add an optional 1/4 cup or either to the mix and continue cooking. Continue cooking (and stirring) until all veggies are tender but not overcooked. This should take about 6-8 minutes in total. At the end add your chicken back in and stir until everything is combined.
Optional: If you want the dish to be a little more rich, you can add a 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese or 1/4 cup of heavy cream into the mixture during the last 2 minutes of cooking .When your veggies are tender add your chicken back into the pan and remove from heat.
6. Your pasta water should be boiling by now. Add your gnocchi and cook to package instructions. Note: Gnocchi cooks much faster than regular pasta and does not get “al dente.” Gnocchi is done cooking when it floats to the top of the water. The best way to remove your gnocchi is scooping it off the top of the water as they float up with a slotted spoon.
7. Return your veggie chicken mixture to medium heat. Now toss your cooked gnocchi into the veggies and chicken. Important note: Gnocchi is very soft! You do not want to over stir. Gently toss the gnocchi and veggies once or twice then scoop into your serving bowl. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and a bit of grated lemon zest. You can (and should) grate some parmesan cheese on top if you have it available.
Serve and enjoy!