Homage to Spring: Pasta Primavera With Scallops

As I sat with my morning coffee yesterday morning, I clicked on the local news to see what the day would bring. The weather report forecasted "abundant sunshine". How about that? It didn't say "sunny" or "partly sunny", or even "very sunny". Nope. The reporter's exact words were "abundant sunshine". What beautiful words to hear at 6:15 a.m., on a dark, chilly March morning. What a wonderful promise of a wonderful day! It made me smile.
It also made me realize that Spring has apparently sprung, at least in my neck of the woods. Being on the tail end of the Easter season, we've all been hearing and talking a lot about renewal and rebirth. I've been spending so much time these past few weeks baking for Easter and posting about it, that I never had time to properly welcome Spring.
Later, as I was stopped at a red light while driving to my office, I took a good look around. I was surprised at what I saw. Almost overnight, an explosion of new growth had occurred. There was a profusion of pink, gold and violet surrounding me. Sure, living in Florida means that something is always blooming, but this was much more pronounced. The fuschias of the bougainvillea, the peaches and yellows of the hibiscus and the lavenders of the jacaranda seemed so much more vibrant than the day before. The sky was bluer and the sunlight was.....well, it was abundant! It was like all of nature woke up after a long, restorative nap.
I knew that whatever I created in my kitchen that evening had to reflect this seasonal shift. Truth be told, I'm still a little amped out on baking, so I decided to put together a savory dish that sings Spring. I made Pasta Primavera.
Pasta primavera is an Italian dish that consists of pasta and and assortment of fresh seasonal vegetables. The word primavera, in fact, means Spring in Italian. Any vegetables can be used in this dish, but I like it best with a variety having an array of bright colors and textures. I julienned most of them to facilitate quicker cooking, and because I think they're pretty that way. You can certainly just slice them up any way you like.
The sauce can be either olive oil or butter and cream based. This time, I combined both to make a light cream sauce with white wine, broth and half and half. Though the dish usually involves tomatoes in some way, I left them out because I couldn't find any that were worthy. This is all about the freshest, loveliest ingredients, isn't it?
Since this was to be a one dish dinner, I also added some gorgeous, plump sea scallops to it. I have also prepared this recipe using shrimp and chicken, but yesterday, the scallops won the draw.
I have laid out the recipe here so that, with the exception of cooking the pasta, the dish can all be made in one pot. I'm sure that whoever does the dishes at your house will be happy to hear that!
So here you have it - Pasta Primavera With Scallops - my homage to Spring!

Pasta Primavera with Scallops

1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used linguini.)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 stick of butter
1 large sweet onion, very thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 cups fresh asparagus tips
2 cups fresh shucked English peas or frozen green peas
2 medium zucchini, julienned
2 medium yellow squash, julienned
2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used the regular button variety.)
1 lb dry packed sea scallops, sliced in half horizontally
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock (Canned broth is just fine.)
2 cups half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Fresh herbs of your choice for garnish
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. When boiling, add asparagus and fresh peas, if using, and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Fish out the vegetables and "shock" in a bowl of ice water. Drain and set aside. Then, cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and toss with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking and clumping. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove to a large lowl and set aside.
Add a little more oil and butter to the skillet if needed and add the carrots and red pepper. Saute about 5 minutes until tender. Add the zucchini, squash, mushrooms, peas and asparagus, and saute about 2-3 minutes more. Remove and add to the bowl with the onions.
Turn the heat to medium-high, add a little more oil and butter and add the scallops, in a single layer. Saute until lightly carmelized, about 1 minute per side, depending on the thickness of the scallops. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add wine and broth to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Reduce heat to medium and keep to a low boil until liquid is reduced by about 1/2. Add half and half, salt, pepper and nutmeg, stir and continue to simmer a few minutes until cream begins to thicken.
Add vegetables and scallops back to the skillet and heat through. Toss with pasta and top with lemon zest and herbs.
If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
Spaghetti With Asparagus and Shrimp from Kalofagas


The seasonal change definitely seems to have hit in FL and its nice having the screen doors open and long sunny days w/o the oppressive summer humidity.

The pasta looks very tasty and very seasonally appropriate. The photos look great too--a nice splash of color!
I envy your georgous weather! And your dish screams spring!! I have a SIL that lives in Sarasota, and everytime we visit I just love all the flowers there!
Peter M said…
Look at all that mise en place! You made a fitting meal to help usher in Spring..someone come thaw all this snow we got this year.
test it comm said…
That pasta looks nice and fresh and colourful and tasty. I can't wait for the Spring weather to come here!
Manggy said…
That looks awesome, and not just because I adore scallops, but it's not the overly creamy mess that I usually see when it comes to Pasta Primavera! It looks rightly light and delicious.

How wonderful to be surrounded by so many colors. (I obviously am a little bitter for living in a factory district)
Scallops are so frickin yummy and my husband won't even give them a chance........BAH
Nina Timm said…
This is an amazing and colorful dish - I bet the flavor was even better.
This dish is packed with flavour Susan:D I also enjoyed your Spring poem..When the forsythia bloom that means spring to me...I do see some tiny buds:D
I love spring too. Rebirth of all things although in Florida is hard to notice it sometimes right? When I go to the store and see all the new fruits and vegetables... I love it. And anything with pasta is fabulous!
Susan @ SGCC said…
Mike- Thanks! The changes in seasons here are a lot more subtle. I guess I've lived here long enough to pick up on them. Glad you liked the pasta.

Marie- The weather here is pretty gorgeous, but it can also be monotonous. I can't believe you have family here! I wonder if I know your SIL. This is not such a big place and I've been here a looong time.

Peter- Thanks! I've been trying to blow some warm weather up your way. Any luck yet? ;)

Kevin- Glad you like it! I'll try to blow some warm weather up to you too! ;)

Manggy- Thank you! I hate that gloppy kind of pasta too. Don't be bitter. Sometimes, I get sick of all this green!

Obsessive- I'm lucky that my husband isn't a picky eater. If he was, he'd starve, because I cook what I want. This ain't no restaurant! ;)

Nina- Thanks! This is definitely one that I like to make over and over.

Valli- Thank you! I'm so glad you liked the pasta and my poem. I'm finally starting to feel more comfortable putting my "creative side" out there.

Ah, forsythia! I love them, but we don't have them here. :(

Aran- I agree. Pasta rules!
It is really hard to notice our subtle weather changes - even more so where you are. After a while, you get better at it.
Jen said…
This looks absolutely lovely and springlike!
Lora said…
My kind of recipe-explicit instructions. Definitely gets a try-but who needs meat when you have all those wonderful vegetables? Great Southern tradition-veggie only meals!
Anonymous said…
confound you floridians and your early spring. i have 7 crocuses blooming in my jersey backyard and i'm ECSTATIC.

i'll still eat your pasta, though.
Helene said…
I love all the colors of the dish! Puts me in a great mood. I too feel like paying hommage to Spring. My favorite time of the year here in the South.
Susan @ SGCC said…
Jen- Thank you! That's what I was going for. ;)

Lora- Thanks! I try to make the recipes easy to follow. You could also add white beans to this dish instead of meat or seafood and still get the protein.

Michelle- You're more than welcome to the pasta, but, um...what's a crocus? ;)

Tartelette- Thank you! I'll bet you've got azaleas blooming all over the place up there! That would put me in great mood too. :)
Cate said…
Mmmm, the dish sounds delish! I cannot wait for Spring weather to finally arrive... enough of this cold!
Anonymous said…
Oh my Gawd! I need to make this! It looks incredible. I even have some scallops in my freezer...YUM!
Pixie said…
I'm so glad I have scallops currently in my fridge because this sounds like the perfect recipe to use them with!
Susan, I have never tried scallops but I can see this dish is delicious!
Katerina said…
What a beautiful picture! I am very jealous that your spring is spring as we started spring with snow this year, and considering we haven't had it for 2 months it was sorta weird. I am very much looking forward to actual spring and I when it happens I will make it your primavera. Thanks for including me.

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