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Do i have to you heavy cream or half and half for pasta primavera?

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Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 2 years ago
Voted the Best Answer!

No, you don't. You can use a combination of olive oil and some of the pasta cooking water to make the sauce silky -- and fold in some grated Parmesan for a little creaminess without cream.

Susie T. Gibbs added almost 2 years ago

You can also make a bechamel in order to make a "mock" cream sauce and use milk. Finish the sauce with a bit of sour cream - stir until smooth and shave fresh parmesan into sauce to thicken it. If you want to be completely decadent, you can finish with a tablespoon of butter at the end.

The advantage of a bechamel over a cream sauce or over a sauce thickened as Merrill mentions is that it tends to be more stable. It isn't an a la minute type of preparation and can even be frozen and reheated for other pasta type dishes. (I still prefer a cream sauce or Merrill's prep on it, but the bechamel is a work horse in my opinion.)


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 2 years ago

Actually the sauce primavera is a modern sauce and was invented in NEW YORK, and it really is an a la minute sauce, originally prepared tableside at Cipriani. It's undergone many permutations since then thanks to distinguished restaurants such as Olive Garden.

Bill F added almost 2 years ago

It maybe a little too late but I've used both before But if you have the option use heavy cream. It add a certain creaminess that half and half won't. Thicken with a roux or as I prefer Romano cheese. Good luck

ATG117 added almost 2 years ago

When I don't do what Merrill suggested, I sometimes make a variation on the traditional and use a homemade tomato sauce. One of my favorite childhood cafes offered with their primavera either a cream sauce or red sauce option. I have been trying to replicate theirs ever since. I would not use a jarred sauce though! A basic homemade version is necessary to ensure something super that lives up to the spring vegetables.

amysarah added almost 2 years ago

Actually, it was invented by Sirio Maccioni at the original Le Cirque, back in the '70's. Dating myself here, but it was all the rage for a time - used to see it on a lot of menus, now not so much.

I think it originally included cream, but as Merrill said, an emulsion of olive oil, pasta water and some grated cheese ought to make a lighter but still creamy version.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 2 years ago

Amysarah you are correct there. At the time though I believe Le Cirque was owned by Cipriani. And yes, it was the rage in '70's. It's way different now. It's become like "Alfredo this" or "Alfredo that." Interesting that in Rome now the ones looking for fettucine Alfredo are American tourists.

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