Pasta primavera


Makes 4 servings

This ode to spring is simple -- and simply sublime. The light pasta main course calls for the freshest, top-quality ingredients, so for this dish I always use two superb European ingredients -- authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma. Parmigiano-Reggiano is crafted in a small area of northern Italy where the conditions come together to produce flavorful grasses that, in turn, yield excellent milk, which is used in the production of this cheese. Prosciutto di Parma is produced in the same region from just two ingredients: pork from specially bred Italian pigs and sea salt. It is a delicious all-natural ham that has been meticulously produced in the same manner for centuries.

12 ounces bow ties or other short-cut pasta of your choice

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 ½ cups green beans or asparagus spears in 2-inch lengths

1 small yellow summer squash, cut into matchsticks

1 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks

2 leeks, white parts only, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch strips

½ red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/3 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other medium-bodied, high-acid white wine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade

1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill

¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or to taste

2 ounces thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma

Freshly ground pepper, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toasted pine nuts for garnish


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrot and green beans or asparagus; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are nearly tender, about 8 minutes. Add the summer squash, zucchini, leeks, and bell pepper; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are tender, about 4 more minutes.

In a measuring cup, stir together the remaining ingredients, except the prosciutto and the garnish. Pour into the sauté pan and stir until the wine is nearly evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Prosciutto di Parma. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

When the pasta is done, drain well. Return it to the pan; add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and toss.

Transfer servings of pasta to individual bowls. Top with the vegetable mixture; garnish with pepper, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and pine nuts.