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Pasta primavera shines today

The Pasta primavera recipe can be found in

The Pasta primavera recipe can be found in "KewlBites" by Reed Alexander (Rodale Books; $21.99).

Resistant little mounds of snow remain, but crocuses are starting to poke through.

Spring finally, ultimately, at last arrives today. It's bye-bye braising, bagna cauda and Black Russians. So long hot toddy and mulled wine, Game: gone.

Where's the asparagus? Find those morels. Start prepping the peas.

And give the season its full welcome with a plate of pasta primavera. The dish is traditionally attributed to Le Cirque, the starry Manhattan restaurant. But pasta with vegetables, cream and Parmesan cheese has been made by many Nonnas over the decades.

The Le Cirque spaghetti alla primavera, as recounted by Sirio Maccioni in Saveur magazine, starts with heating five teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add two minced garlic cloves. Wait till they gild.

Then add some button mushrooms and cook for about three minutes. Add a cup of asparagus tips, a cup of blanched broccoli florets, one-half cup of blanched peas, and cook for three more minutes. Add pasta, a cup of heavy cream, two-thirds cup grated Parmesan cheese and two tablespoons of unsalted butter, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Toss to combine and transfer to a platter. Top the pasta with a clove of minced garlic that has turned golden after heated in a teaspoon of olive oil; shredded basil; and a cup of grape tomatoes. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.

You could use whatever shape of pasta you like. And if you're more fond of red sauce, saute the vegetables and serve in your favorite marinara sauce. Make it pink with a little cream.

And celebrate.

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