You have all heard me talk about Lauren over the past few years.  Lauren, started out as a work colleague about 12-13 years ago.  A few years later we became roommates that led to Lauren becoming one of my closest and dearest friends.  Together we have been through a lot from moving in and out of three different apartments in 100 degree weather, to the death of approximately 10 mice (another story for another time), to broken hearts, to loss of parents, to fabulous vacations, to laughter so hard we nearly peed our pants, or maybe that was just me, to building one of strongest friendships I have.

Even with Lauren moving back to her home state of Missouri, our friendship has remained strong, if not stronger, and as you have probably read from my many blog postings we still get to catch up quite a lot.  Okay, sappiness over.  I am so thrilled that Lauren agreed to write a piece for my Blog.

Aunt Karen’s Pasta Primavera

One of my favorite daily tasks is reading Tracey’s blog…I smile in anticipation as I click on the icon in my list of my internet favorites.  What has Tracey gotten up to today, I wonder?  As her former roommate, I had a bird’s eye view at her daily life and wonky antics, but now I have to wait with the rest of her ‘fans’ to read about it.

I can honestly say nothing surprises me now.  Tracey is a bright and careful gal, but every once in a while, she totally forgets to pack her common sense in her bag for the day.  For example, just recently y’all might have thought, ‘who would book a flight for the (very) wrong dates and then be utterly surprised when the airline wants to charge a thousand bucks to fix it?’ Well, the answer shouldn’t be ‘Tracey’.  Believe me, she is exactly the type of person who would do that, and probably has done it multiple times….and is shocked every time!  Every trip, botched date and goofy story is a perfect representation of her and why she is sooo loveable and darling (and exasperating!)

Anyhoo, when my dear friend asked me to guest blog, I was thrilled to be a part of her wonderful e-diary.

Tracey recently came to KC, MO for a visit (that’s Kansas City, Missouri for you narrow East Coasters who don’t know there’s a whole country between Boston and Cali).  We had a culinary tour of the city as well as of our family recipes. TP has asked me to share a family favorite that we made together.

This recipe comes from my Aunt Karen and she notes in the cookbook that it is, and I quote ‘simply the best dish I make, without question’.  She is a GREAT cook, so I’d qualify that as saying the best cold pasta dish she makes, but it is a top 5 family favorite.  This recipe easily feeds 12 people so adjust down accordingly – or eat leftovers for days…it gets better every day.

Firstly, my version of this recipe calls for a glass of wine (or 2), depending on duration of said preparations.  Once that has been poured and within easy reach, you may begin…

Pasta Primavera

4 T Salt, divided
1 ½ c EVOO, divided
1 lb green (spinach) fettuccine (i.e., 2 packs of the fresh stuff)
1 lb regular fettuccine (again, 2 packs fresh)
1 c finely chopped purple onion
1 lb fresh snow peas
1 lb thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
2 sweet red peppers, julienned
1 sweet yellow pepper, julienned
1 sweet green pepper, julienned
sugar to sprinkle on peppers
8 green onions, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ c chopped fresh chives
¼ c chopped fresh basil
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 c grated Parmesan cheese, divided
¾ c red wine and/or balsamic vinegar (I use a bit of both)
3 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise (I then cut quarters in half)
1 can pitted black olives, drained
grated zest of orange or lemon

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in large pot.  Add 1 T salt to boiling water.  Cook noodles per directions on package…do not overcook.  Drain well but do not rinse in cold water (you may have to cook the 2 different pastas separately if they call for different cooking times)

Transfer to a large pasta dish used for serving.  Add ¾ cup olive oil and chopped onions to warm pasta and toss gently to combine.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.  This will soften the onions.

Bring another 2 quarts of water to boil.  Add 2 T salt to water and add the snow peas.  Cook for 2 minute and drain.  Immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water and let stand for 10 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.

After you have sliced the peppers, sprinkle a small amount of sugar on them and allow to rest until you are ready to add to the pasta.

Chopping and slicing

Begin layering your toppings on the pasta.  It can be done in any order, but I recommend this order: pasta on bottom, 1 c parmesan cheese, snow peas, prosciutto (separating the thin strips as you add), all peppers, green onions, chives and basil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle ¼- ½ c vinegar, ¼ c olive oil and ½ cup cheese on top.  Place the quartered tomatoes around the edge of the pasta dish.  Place the olives inside the circle of tomatoes.  Grate the zest of the orange or lemon in the center of the dish.

Always have a glass of champagne on hand 🙂

Serve at room temperature with sides of the oil, vinegars and parmesan cheese.

Add lots of extra cheese!

I like to wait and toss at the table since the layering is so beautiful, but you can toss as any point.

Looks fabulous doesn’t it?

This is a great meal for casual dinner parties, pot lucks and picnics.  Serve alone or with salad greens and crusty bread.  Pairs best with copious amounts of wine!

Voila – Pasta Primavera

A history of me and Lauren