Penne tossed with spring vegetables, such as carrots, morel mushrooms, asparagus, peas and fava beans, along with loads of fresh herbs is a perfect example of Mario Batali's rustic approach to great-tasting Italian food. When both fava beans and morel mushrooms are in season, by all means use them in this recipe. But if you can't find either of those, substitute what looks best. Basic cremini mushrooms will work and frozen lima beans are a good option. Recipe adapted from Molto Gusto by Mario Batali and Mark Ladner (Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, 2010).

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2011


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until barely golden, about 30 seconds. Add carrots, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sliced asparagus stalks and cook for 2 minutes, then add the asparagus tips, peas, beans and scallions. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until all the vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

  • Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in another large pot. Add kosher salt and pasta; cook until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

  • Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water to the vegetables, stirring and tossing over medium heat to mix well. Cover, reduce heat to low, and allow to steam together for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and a splash or two more of the reserved cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Stir in the parsley, basil and mint. Serve with Parmigiano.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours; serve cold or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

410 calories; protein 16.8g; carbohydrates 60.5g; dietary fiber 14g; sugars 5.1g; fat 13.2g; saturated fat 2.5g; cholesterol 4.3mg; vitamin a iu 3592.6IU; vitamin c 9.1mg; folate 158.2mcg; calcium 122.1mg; iron 6.2mg; magnesium 134.9mg; potassium 538.9mg; sodium 548.1mg; thiamin 0.5mg.

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Rating: 2 stars
Not So Great Penne alla Primavera With the name "Mario Batali" attached to this recipe I expected so much more. The flavour was great but the cooking times may have been too long: Where were the bright greens of spring? The additional of the mint was a nice twist but the "sauce" the recipe referred to at the end never materialized resulting in a rather dry dish. I don't think this will go into the menu rotation. Pros: Makes a lot of food lots of veggies Cons: Makes too much food for a small family dry Read More