The first, early cropping of the fruit and vegetable harvest - known as primizie - were revered throughout Italy in ancient festivals and feasting. Make this pasta as soon as you see the first small peas, asparagus, beans, artichoke hearts, broad beans or sugar snap peas. Yes, it does sound a lot like pasta primavera, but that was created relatively recently, by Sirio Maccioni of New York’s Le Cirque restaurant in 1975.
Trim asparagus by snapping and discarding ends. Cut into short lengths, Dunk tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove, peel, cut in half, squeeze out seeds and cut flesh into small dice. Trim beans and cut on the diagonal. Cook peas in simmering salted water for 10 minutes until tender, Drain and rinse under cold running water and set aside.
Heat olive oil, add garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes, Add zucchini, asparagus, and beans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add tomatoes, peas, broth, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring.
Cook pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain and combine with sauce in a warmed serving bowl, Add parsley and mint, and serve immediately, drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Serve with a wedge of Parmigiano cheese to grate at the table.
© 1998 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.