Le Cirque’s Spaghetti Primavera

Preparation info

  • 4 to 8

    Servings as a Main Course .
    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Feast Made for Laughter

A Feast Made for Laughter

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1982

  • About


  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 4 asparagus spears, each about 5 inches long
  • cups trimmed, cut-up (1-inch lengths) green beans
  • Salt
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen pea pods, optional
  • 1 tablespoon peanut, vegetable, or corn oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh hot red or green chilies, or about ½ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 3 cups cut-up (1-inch cubes) ripe red tomatoes
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped (about ¼ cup), or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pound spaghetti or spaghettini
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or canned chicken broth
  • ½ to ¾ cup heavy cream
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • cup toasted pine nuts


    1. Trim the broccoli and break it into bite-size flowerets. Set aside.
    2. Trim off and discard the ends of the zucchini but do not peel it. Cut the zucchini into quarters. Cut each quarter into 1-inch or slightly longer lengths. There should be about 1½ cups, no more. Set aside.
    3. Cut each asparagus spear into thirds. Set aside.
    4. Cook each of the vegetables as specified separately in boiling salted water to cover. Cook each so that it remains crisp but tender. The broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, and green beans should take about 5 minutes. Drain well, then run under cold water to chill, and drain again thoroughly. Combine the vegetables as they are cooked in a mixing bowl.
    5. Cook the peas and pea pods; about 1 minute if fresh, 30 seconds if frozen. Drain, chill with cold water, and drain again. Combine with the rest of the vegetables.
    6. Heat the peanut oil in a skillet and add the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook, shaking the skillet and stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the vegetables. Add the chopped chilies and parsley.
    7. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and add half the garlic, the 3 cups of tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring gently so as not to break up the tomatoes any more than necessary. Add the basil, stir and set aside.
    8. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet. Add the remaining garlic and the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring gently, just long enough to heat through.
    9. Drop the spaghetti into 3 or 4 quarts boiling salted water. Cook until almost but not quite tender. That is to say, al dente. The spaghetti, when ready, must retain just a slight resilience in the center. Drain well. Return the spaghetti to the hot kettle to keep it warm.
    10. Select a utensil large enough to hold the drained spaghetti and all the vegetables. To this, add the butter. When it melts, add the chicken broth, cream, and cheese, stirring constantly. Cook gently on and off the heat until smooth. Add the spaghetti and toss quickly to blend. Add half the vegetables and pour in the liquid from the tomatoes, tossing and stirring over very low heat.
    11. Add the remaining vegetables. If the sauce seems too dry, add about ¼ cup more cream. The sauce should not be soupy. Add the pine nuts and give the mixture one final tossing.
    12. Serve equal portions of the spaghetti mixture in four to eight hot soup bowls. Spoon equal amounts of the tomatoes over each serving. Serve immediately.