Dean cooks Lemon Pasta Primavera

Dean cooks Lemon Pasta Primavera

WGN Entertainment Reporter Dean Richards shares his delicious, fresh recipe for Lemon Pasta Primavera.


  • 16 oz. bag   Penne or Ziti pasta   (You want the pasta to be about the same size and shape as the veggies.  Tubular pasta means the sauce can get inside of it for extra flavor.)

  • 2-3 whole lemons, zested and juiced

  • 3 Tbsp. butter

  • 3-4 medium garlic cloves, minced

  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

  • salt and black pepper, to taste.

  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley or basil

  • ½ cup olive oil

For fresh vegetables: 

  • ½ lb. asparagus

  • 1 large yellow zucchini

  • 1 large green zucchini

  • 8 oz. cherry tomatoes

  • 8 oz. shredded carrots

or your vegetables of choice.

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Lemon Pasta:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook al dente.  Do not overcook.

Just before the pasta is ready, place the butter, garlic and half the lemon zest in a large pan over medium heat.

Melt the butter and cook the garlic slowly. 

Transfer the cooked pasta straight from the boiling water into the butter, any pasta water clinging to the pasta is good. Don’t discard the remaining pasta water.

Add 4 tbsp of the lemon juice, and the grated parmesan cheese in with the pasta and butter. Toss everything till well coated.

Add more pasta water if needed, 1 tbsp at a time until the pasta has a nice sheen and is very slightly soupy.  It’ll absorb. 

Toss in half of the parsley or basil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with more parm, lemon zest and the remainder of the parsley.

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Cut larger vegetables into large, bite sized pieces as they will shrink slightly as they sauté or roast in the oven.

You can either sauté the vegetables in olive in a pan or roast them on a sheet pan. 

This can be done before…or while the pasta is cooking. 

If roasting, preheat the oven to 425F.

Place all the chopped vegetables in a bowl and drizzle with one or two teaspoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Spread out in one layer on a baking sheet. Use two if needed.

If sauteing,  add oil to the pan.  Let it heat up. 

Add veggies and cook until they are slightly cooked.   They will continue to cook in the pasta mixtures. 

Cook until slightly softened.  Don’t overcook them.   A little crunch is good. 

Gently fold the vegetables into the lemon pasta. 

Use reserved pasta water to ensure that the sauce is loose.

Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or basil, extra parmesan cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest.

(Optional:  for extra protein,  add grilled shrimp, leftover rotisserie chicken, even seafood)

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Printable recipe below


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