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Le Cirque French Restaurant's Pasta Primavera
1 bunch broccoli
2 small zucchini
4 asparagus spears, about 5 inches long
1 1/2 C. green beans, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths
1/2 C. fresh or frozen peas
1 T. corn oil
2 C. mushrooms, sliced thinly
freshly ground black pepper
1 t. finely chopped hot, fresh red or green chilies or ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 C. flat parsley, chopped finely
6 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. fresh garlic, chopped finely
3-4 C. red, ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 lb. spaghettini or capellini pasta
2 T. fresh or canned chicken broth
1/4 C. butter
about 1/2 C. heavy cream
2/3-1 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 C. toasted pine nuts
Trim broccoli and save end stalks for another use. Cut flowerettes into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Cut zucchini into quarters, then cut each quarter into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups). Set aside. Cut each asparagus spear into thirds. Set aside.
Cook each of green vegetables separately in boiling salted water until crisp but not tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, then run cold water over to chill and stop cooking. Drain well.
Combine all vegetables in large mixing bowl.
Cook peas and pea pods in boiling water for 1 minute, if fresh, or 30 seconds if frozen. Drain well, then chill with cold water. Drain. Combine with all other vegetables.
Heat oil in skillet; add mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, shaking skillet to coat mushrooms. Cook about 2 minutes, adding chopped chilies and parsley.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in saucepan and add half garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring gently so not to break up tomatoes. Add basil; stir and set aside.
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to large skillet, remaining garlic and vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring gently, just long enough to heat thoroughly.
Cook pasta according to package direction but cook al dente or until slightly resilient in center. Drain well and return pasta to hot pan.
Select utensil large enough to hold drained pasta and all vegetables. Add butter and melt, then add chicken broth, 1/2 cup cream and cheese, stirring constantly.
Cook very gently on and off heat until smooth. Add pasta and toss quickly to blend. Add half vegetables and pour in liquid from tomatoes, tossing and stirring over very low heat.
Add remaining vegetables and, if sauce seems to dry, 1/4 cup more cream. (Note that sauce should not be soupy.) Add pine nuts and give mixture one final tossing.
Serve equal portions of pasta mixture in 4 to 8 hot soup or spaghetti bowls. Spoon equal amounts of tomatoes over each serving. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Makes 4 main-course servings or 6-8 appetizer servings.
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