Instant Pot Pasta Primavera

Instant Pot Pasta Primavera is a classic, veggie-packed pasta dish that isn’t just for spring or summer. Warm pasta and lightly cooked vegetables are finished in a lemony, cream sauce – versatile enough to be cooked year-round. It’s a simple one-pot dish that only takes about 30 minutes.


WHAT IS PASTA PRIMAVERA

Pasta Primavera or Spring Pasta in Italian is an American dish that originated in the 1970s at Le Cirque, a popular New York City restaurant. It has since become a very popular pasta dish in the United States and around the world. Read more here.

It consists of cooked pasta in a light, creamy sauce and fresh, seasonal vegetables. While it refers to spring, this pasta dish is great any time of the year and especially in summer when fresh vegetables are in abundance.

It is often made with sofrito of onion and garlic and lightly cooked vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, green peas, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. The sauce is made with chicken or vegetable broth, sometimes wine, cream, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and often fresh basil. A little lemon juice is also frequently added to give it a lovely tang.

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INSTANT POT PASTA PRIMAVERA

In this recipe, the vegetables and the pasta are cooked and finished in the Instant Pot with a creamy sauce making it a simple one-pot dish that’s ready in under 30 minutes.

This Instant Pot Pasta Primavera isn’t just for spring and summer, this is a dish bursting with vegetables that’s perfect whenever you feel like it. It’s versatile enough to use any seasonal vegetables, you can make it creamy or dairy-free, add extra protein such as chicken or shrimp and use different herbs.

Pasta Primavera (Instant Pot Recipe)
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PASTA PRIMAVERA INGREDIENTS

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this pasta dish. As we mentioned, this is a versatile recipe so you can swap and substitute things.

  • Pasta: It is thought that the earlier versions of Pasta Primavera were made with long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccine. But, these days you will often see it made with shorter-shaped pasta that is more similar to the size of vegetables. Penne pasta is a popular choice but farfalle, rigatoni, orecchiette, and fusilli are good options.
  • Vegetables: You can use any seasonal vegetables you like. It’s best with a mix of colorful, fresh vegetables that will be lightly sauteed to retain some crunch. For this Instant Pot primavera pasta recipe, we used asparagus, broccoli, bell pepper, zucchini, peas, and cherry tomatoes. The whole idea is that this is a vegetable-loaded pasta dish so you really can’t go wrong with too many.
  • Garlic and onions -For that aromatic, savory flavor and a little sharpness.
  • For the sauce: As this is a creamy Pasta Primavera, you will need butter, cream, Parmesan cheese, stock and lemon juice for the sauce. It’s a little tangy but mellowed out by cream, which is not too heavy in this dish so it still tastes fresh and light. Basil adds complexity and aromatic notes to the sauce. 

HOW TO MAKE PASTA PRIMAVERA IN INSTANT POT

You will find the full recipe with ingredients and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below.

There are three simple stages to making this one-pot Pasta primavera in the pressure cooker. The first stage is to pre-sautee all the vegetables and make the base of the sauce. The second stage is to cook the pasta. The third is to combine the pre-cooked vegetables and pasta with cream, butter and Parmesan cheese, then finish it all with fresh basil. Let’s break it down step-by-step. You can use a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot

STAGE ONE – COOK THE VEGETABLES

Step 1. Prep the vegetables ahead of time. They only take a few minutes to cook so you want all your attention on the pot once you start cooking. What’s great is that you can cook all the vegetables in one pot for this recipe.

Step 2. Add frozen peas to a bowl and pour over hot boiling water to thaw them out briefly. Then strain and set aside.

defrosting the peas in hot water

Step 3. Set up the Instant Pot and press the Saute setting on Normal mode.

Step 4. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and onions and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften. Follow by broccoli, zucchini and bell peppers (as these take longer to cook) and cook for 1 minute, stirring a couple of times.

Step 5. Then add asparagus and cherry tomatoes and stir for about 30 seconds.

Step 6. Then add the garlic, lemon zest, chili, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir for 20-30 seconds.

Step 7. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of vegetable or chicken stock and cook for 1 minute, stirring a couple of times.

Step 8. Remove the vegetables and most of the cooking stock liquid with a big spoon. A little garlic and onion can remain in any leftover cooking broth in the pot.

STAGE TWO – COOK THE PASTA

Step 9. Add the pasta and 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot. Pour in 3 cups of water, it should cover the pasta completely. Stir through, scraping the bottom.

Step 10. Secure and lock the lid. Pressure cook for 4 minutes on HIGH. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 1-2 minutes and then use the quick release to let the steam off. Don’t leave it on NPR for longer than that or the pasta will overcook.

STAGE THREE – FINISH THE SAUCE

Step 11. Strain the pasta. Return it to the Instant Pot and add the vegetables and the cooking stock from the bowl, as well as butter, cream and Parmesan. Stir through. Set to Saute for a minute or two to reheat as the cream and butter would have cooled down the pasta.

Step 12. Taste for salt and pepper. Finally, stir in chopped or sliced basil leaves. You can also drizzle a little extra lemon juice, to taste.

Creamy Pasta Primavera In Bowl

INSTANT POT PASTA PRIMAVERA VARIATIONS

Vegan Pasta Primavera: Follow the same steps for the cooking stages. Once pasta is cooked, return to the pot with all the vegetables and cooking broth and stir in two tablespoons of plant-based butter alternative. Finish with nutritional yeast flakes or a sprinkling of vegan-friendly cheese.

Shrimp Pasta Primavera: Turn the Saute and add some olive oil to the pot. Once hot, add a handful of raw shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times. Remove and then add extra olive oil and pre-cook the vegetables. Repeat the rest of the steps as per this recipe. Add the shrimp back in when adding the cream, Parmesan and so on. 

Chicken Pasta Primavera: Similar to the shrimp version, pre-cook bite-sized chicken pieces on Saute for 1-2 minutes. Remove and pre-cook the vegetables. Once you remove the vegetables and add the pasta and water, return the chicken piece and cook further together with the pasta. Repeat all other steps as above.

Sausage Pasta Primavera: This would be similar to shrimp or chicken versions, but you can use Italian sausage and pre-cook it at the start or together with pasta.

Pasta Primavera with red sauce: When cooking the vegetables, you can add a cup of favorite red pasta sauce. As the sauce is already tangy, only add a tablespoon of lemon juice or less. Once the pasta is cooked, you have a choice to keep it a dairy-free red sauce or you can add the cream, butter and Parmesan to make it extra luxurious and creamy. 

Pesto Pata Primavera: Stir a few tablespoons of pesto into the finished cream sauce. You can also add dairy-free pesto to keep it a vegan-friendly recipe without the cream. 

White Bean Pasta Primavera: Strain a can of white beans and stir it into the pasta right at the end. 

Baked Pasta Primavera: Cook pasta for 1 minute less. Add the finished pasta to a baking casserole dish and top with extra grated cheese. You can use Mozzarella, Cheddar or a mix. Pop into a hot oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted into a golden crust. 

Past primavera with vegetables

STORAGE TIPS

Leftover pasta can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

To freeze, cool and transfer the pasta to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat thoroughly.


MORE INSTANT POT PASTA RECIPES


FULL RECIPE & NUTRITION

Below is the full list of ingredients, instructions, notes, tips and nutritional breakdown. Don’t forget to rate this recipe and leave a comment with feedback or any questions.

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Instant Pot Pasta Primavera Recipe

Instant Pot Pasta Primavera

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Learn how to make Instant Pot Pasta Primavera, a classic pasta dish filled with colorul seasonal vegetables and lemony, Parmesan cream sauce. It is the perfect pasta recipe for spring and summer, yet versatile enough to be enjoyed year-round. This pasta Primavera one-pot dish is ready in about 30 minutes.


Ingredients

Scale

Vegetables to prep

2 cups broccoli florets (larger ones cut in halves)

1 medium zucchini/summer squash/zucchini, cut in half moons

10 asparagus spears, cut into three (trim off the ends)

1 small bell pepper (red or yellow), cut into strips

1.5 cup cherry tomatoes, halved and/or quartered

1 cup frozen peas (thawed out in hot water)

For the sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small red onion or shallot, sliced

3 large cloves of garlic, minced or finely diced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

4-5 slices of red chili or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)

1/2 cup vegetable stock (we used Vegeta stock powder and water)

For pasta

12 oz (340 g) penne pasta 

3 cups water 

1 teaspoon salt

To finish the sauce

2/3 cup heavy cream 

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons butter

6 large basil leaves, sliced (+ extra for garnish)


Instructions

  • Prep the vegetables ahead of time. They only take a few minutes to cook so you want all your attention on the pot once you start cooking. What’s great is that you can cook all the vegetables in one pot for this recipe.
  • Add frozen peas to a bowl and pour over hot boiling water to thaw them out briefly. Then strain and set aside.
  • Set up the Instant Pot and press the Saute setting on Normal mode.
  • Add the olive oil and onions and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften. Follow by broccoli, zucchini and bell peppers (as these take longer to cook) and cook for 1 minute, stirring a couple of times.
  • Then add asparagus and cherry tomatoes and stir for about 30 seconds.
  • Then add the garlic, lemon zest, chili, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir for 20-30 seconds.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of vegetable or chicken stock and cook for 1 minute, stirring a couple of times.
  • Remove the vegetables and most of the cooking stock liquid with a big spoon. A little garlic and onion can remain in any leftover cooking broth in the pot.
  • Add the pasta and 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot. Pour in 3 cups of water, it should cover the pasta completely. Stir through, scraping the bottom.
  • Secure and lock the lid. Pressure cook for 4 minutes on HIGH. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 1-2 minutes and then use the quick release to let the steam off. Don’t leave it on NPR for longer than that or the pasta will overcook.
  • Strain the pasta. Return it to the Instant Pot and add the vegetables and the cooking stock from the bowl, as well as butter, cream and Parmesan. Stir through. Set to Saute for a minute or two to reheat as the cream and butter would have cooled down the pasta.
  • Taste for salt and pepper. Finally, stir in chopped or sliced basil leaves. You can also drizzle a little extra lemon juice, to taste.

Notes

See the ingredients notes above in this post. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 605
  • Sugar: 10.7 g
  • Sodium: 725.3 mg
  • Fat: 23 g
  • Carbohydrates: 81.3 g
  • Protein: 20.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 39.4 mg

Keywords: Pasta Recipes, Instant Pot Pasta, Penne Pasta, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Italian, Dinner

By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

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