This creamy pasta primavera is a quick and easy 15 minute dinner that’s packed with fresh veggies, with a creamy, cheesy sauce.
By the time it gets to dinner time, and the whole household is tired and hungry, I need something easy that can be cooked quickly. This 15 minute creamy pasta primavera is one of my favourite quick dinners. It’s packed with veg, full of different flavours and textures, and I can adapt the recipe to use up whatever’s in the fridge!
15 minute dinner
I love super quick dinners, and it looks like you guys do too – my 15 minute mushroom stroganoff is still one of my most-viewed recipes ever. You are my people.
This pasta primavera ticks all the boxes:
- it’s quick
- it’s easy
- it’s delicious
- it uses whatever veg you have on hand
- it can be adapted to your family’s tastes
Isn’t that just perfect? Pasta, veggies, and a cheesy sauce, in just 15 minutes. Bingo.
What is pasta primavera?
In case anyone’s wondering what the ‘primavera’ part of this recipe title is all about – it’s Italian for ‘spring’. As you can probably guess, pasta primavera is usually made with lots of fresh spring vegetables. It’s full of vibrant colours and crunch.
I’m aware that it’s actually summer as I’m writing this (though the weather here would like us to believe otherwise), but that’s the great thing about pasta primavera. You don’t need to feel limited to just using certain vegetables – you can use whatever veggies you like.
Just use whatever’s in season / whatever’s your favourite / whatever you happen to have in the fridge and freezer. It always works out well.
What is primavera sauce made of?
A classic primavera sauce is made with butter, cream and cheese (doesn’t it sound dreamy?!). However, since I rarely have cream in the fridge, and I don’t like buying ingredients just for one recipe (the rest of the tub always ends up going to waste!), I use something else: cream cheese!
As the cream cheese melts into the warm vegetables, it creates an incredible silky, glossy sauce.
I usually use the garlic and herb stuff, as it automatically brings a lovely flavour to the pasta primavera, with no extra effort from me.
How to make pasta primavera
Step 1: Boil the pasta with frozen veg
Begin by cooking the pasta. I always like to add some frozen veg to my pasta, as they cook together in the same time, and it’s a low effort way to get some extra veg into your dinner.
This time, I used frozen sweetcorn and frozen spinach. I like the blocks of finely chopped spinach, as the little pieces stick to the pasta, and it gets some extra goodness into my kids without them even noticing it.
Other frozen vegetables you could use include frozen peas, peppers, mushrooms, or anything else you enjoy. I’m personally not a huge fan of frozen broccoli or frozen carrots, as they often have a bit of an odd texture. But just use your favourites.
Step 2: Cook some extra veg in a frying pan
While the pasta’s cooking, sauté some other vegetables in a pan.
I always aim to get as many different colours and textures into my pasta primavera as possible. Since the main flavour of the dish comes from the vegetables, it’s nice to get a bit of variety in there. The flavours really shine through.
This time, I used onion, asparagus, and tomatoes, as well as a good dollop of garlic paste (it’s quicker than mincing your own fresh garlic!).
The vegetables only need to be cooked for a few minutes, as you ideally want them to have a bit of bite.
Step 3: Create the creamy sauce
Next up, the creamy sauce!
As mentioned, I always use my favourite secret ingredient to make a creamy sauce: garlic and herb cream cheese!
There are all sorts of ways to make a creamy sauce. A white sauce is easy to make using butter, flour and milk… but just melting a bit of cream cheese into the pan is even easier, and it gives such a lovely, silky sauce that coats the veggies beautifully.
I like to mix a bit of grated cheese through it too, to help to thicken the sauce, and to make it nice and gooey.
Step 4: Mix it all together
Once the pasta and frozen vegetables have finished boiling, just drain the water, and mix everything together. Then you’re all done!
A big bowlful of creamy pasta, with heaps of fresh veg, and a little extra cheese sprinkled on top… absolute heaven.
What vegetables can you use in pasta primavera?
The exact selection of veg doesn’t really matter for this pasta primavera, so feel free to change up the recipe depending on what you have in the fridge (it’s a great fridge clearer).
All of these vegetables would work well:
- green beans
- courgette (zucchini)
…or pretty much any other veg you have on hand – anything that can be boiled in about 12 minutes with the pasta, or sautéed for 5 or 10 minutes in a frying pan.
Whatever combination you go for, your pasta primavera is sure to be a winner!
15 minute creamy pasta primavera
- 185 g (~ 6 1/2 oz) pasta
- 75 g (~ 1/2 cup) frozen sweetcorn
- 3 cubes frozen spinach
- 1 tbsp oil
- ~ 15 spears asparagus (~ 150g / ~ 5 oz), sliced
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic paste)
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 2 tbsp garlic and herb cream cheese
- 50 g cheddar cheese, grated (~ 1/2 cup when grated)
- 2 tbsp water (you can use the pasta cooking water)
- Black pepper
- Add the pasta, frozen sweetcorn, and frozen spinach to a pan with plenty of water, and boil until cooked al dente – around 12-14 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and add the chopped asparagus, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, then add the diced tomatoes.
- After another 2 minutes, add the cream cheese, grated cheddar, and a splash of water. Cook for a couple of minutes until the cheese has melted and combined to produce a silky sauce.
- Drain the cooked pasta, add it to the pan with the vegetables and sauce, and mix well to combine. Season to taste, and serve.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/2 the recipe.