Penne Primavera

A rare excursion into the world of vegetarian cuisine. I think this is an American concept and the title “primavera” always seems a little inappropriate, since there are mushrooms which are traditional autumnal. Be that as it may, as veggie dishes go, this one works well and should give you most of your “five-a-day” in one fell swoop.


serves: 4
preparation time: 20 mins
cooking time: 15 mins


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 250g white cap mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 250g fine green beans or mangetout, halved
  • 1 leek, trimmed and cut into ¾ cm slices
  • 300g fresh penne pasta
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


First, start bringing an unfeasibly large pan of water to the boil. (It needs to be big enough to hold all the green vegetables and the pasta together.)

Next, deal with the tomatoes. Sweat the onion in some olive oil until soft. Toss in the tomatoes and cook gently for about three minutes. You don’t want the tomatoes to disintegrate. This isn’t like a classic Italian tomato sauce but should be something fresher tasting. Try to keep the quarters largely intact but release some of their juices. Season with some salt and pepper, turn off the heat and reserve.

Now for the mushrooms. In another pan, heat another few tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the mushroom quarters for about two miutes. Throw in the crushed garlic, stir annd cook for another minute. Season with some salt and pepper, remove from the heat and reserve.

Once the unfeasibly large pan of water is boiling, add a generous amount of salt and toss in all the green vegetables and the pasta together. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for five minutes. Strain the lot – and yes, I know, you need an unfeasibly large strainer, too. Spalsh some more olive oil back into the cooking pot, return the pasta and vegetables and stir to coat with the olive oil. Now throw in the mushrooms and the tomato mixture and mix well together once more.

Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

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