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Pasta primavera, in season

Asparagus is perfect for Spring -- and perfect

Asparagus is perfect for Spring -- and perfect in this Mother's Day souffle. Photo Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney

The season of pasta primavera officially starts tomorrow.

At 1:14 a.m.

But in an Italian-American home, pasta with vegetables is pretty much a year-round affair. And my grandmother, as well as countless others, might dispute that it originated at Le Cirque, the multi-starred Manhattan restaurant.

I remember my first primavera shortly after my first plate of ravioli or cannelloni, spaghetti or linguine. The red version included whatever vegetables were available with short pasta in a well-seasoned marinara sauce. The white: made with olive oil, paper-thin slices of garlic, definitely asparagus and peas, and either spaghetti or linguine. Neither one had peppers or eggplant or broccoli. Cream, never.

So, you can adhere to the calendar and seek the earliest vegetables of the season for the primavera treatment. Find out what Lidia and Giada and Mario think about it. Or simply experiment.

The pasta will be fine. The vegetables are good for you. And an extra grating or shaving of Parmigiano-Reggiano will rescue almost anything, even pasta in the early morning.

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