Authentic Italian Pasta Primavera (Pasta Vignarola Romana)

Love Pasta Primavera? In Italy, there’s actually no traditional dish called Pasta Primavera. Pasta Primavera is instead an American dish invented in the 1970s. In this recipe, we’ll show you something better: an Italian spring pasta dish that most certainly served as inspiration for the Pasta Primavera—in other words, an authentic Italian Pasta Primavera recipe!

Pasta Vignarola Romana uses a traditional Italian Mixed Vegetables recipe from Rome as its condiment! With fava (broad beans), peas, lettuce, mint, spring onions and artichokes—the traditional Vignarola Romana is a celebration of spring vegetables! In fact, the name of this dish is a direct reference to the vegetables that traditionally grow ‘between the grape rows’ (vignarola) in Rome in the spring. It’s become common in the region to combine a few tablespoons of this delicious veggie mix with pasta (and sometimes cheese) to make Pasta Vignarola Romana.

A few tablespoons of Vignarola Romana can be added to pasta and a creamy pecorino cheese sauce to create Pasta Vignarola Romana

At PIATTO™ Recipes, we try to share with you the most authentic version of an Italian dish whenever possible. In this case, there does not appear to be one classic recipe for Pasta Vignarola Romana in Italy. However, we think ours does the Romans justice!

Fresh fava (broad beans) and pecorino romano cheese are a classic Italian combination! Our recipe combines the Vignarola Romana mixed vegetables with pasta and a creamy pecorino cheese pasta similar to that found in another traditional Roman food recipe: Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe.

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Authentic Italian Pasta Primavera (‘Pasta Vignarola Romana’)

Based on the traditional Vignarola Romana mixed vegetables, this recipe combines those spring vegetables with a pasta and a creamy pecorino cheese sauce for an unforgettable dish!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 4 people


'Vignarola Romana' Mixed Vegetables

  • 9 oz fava beans (broad beans)
  • 4 oz peas fresh or frozen
  • 6 artichoke hearts fresh or canned (not marinated)
  • 5 leaves romaine lettuce or to taste
  • 2 spring onions thinly sliced
  • 4 leaves fresh mint spearmint to replace the traditional pennyroyal
  • 5 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • fine salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Pasta Vignarola Romana

  • 5 tbsp from the 'Vignarola Romana' mix above!
  • 7 oz pecorino cheese finely grated
  • 3.5 oz hot pasta water from boiling the pasta
  • 1 tbsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 11 oz paccheri or another tube pasta: penne, rigatoni…


Make the 'Vignarola Romana' Mixed Vegetables

  • Thinly slice the spring onions. Quarter the artichoke hearts if they aren't already. Cut the lettuce into bite-size pieces.
    6 artichoke hearts, 2 spring onions, 5 leaves romaine lettuce
  • Cover the bottom of a large skillet generously with olive oil. Heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the thinly sliced spring onions to the pan and cook until they are tender. 
    5 tbsp olive oil
  • Add the quartered artichoke hearts to the pan with the onions along with ½ cup of filtered water. Cook covered for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the fava (broad beans) and peas to the pan. Add a ¼ cup of water and cook covered for 15 minutes. Check periodically to see if the vegetables have reached the level of tenderness that you prefer. 
    9 oz fava beans, 4 oz peas
  • When the rest of the vegetables are cooked to your liking, add bite-size pieces of the lettuce. Give everything a quick stir and cook for about a minute to wilt the lettuce.
  • Add the mint at the end (off the heat), letting it infuse the vegetables for a minute or so before serving. Buon appetito!
    4 leaves fresh mint

Toast the Pepper

  • Add freshly ground black pepper to a dry skillet over low heat. Toast just until you smell it, then remove from heat and set it aside for later.
    1 tbsp black pepper

Partially Cook the Pasta

  • Add the pasta to a pot of boiling water. Use less water than you normally would to boil the pasta. This will create a pasta water richer in starch which we can then use to make the sauce!
    Set the timer for ¾ the time recommended in the package instructions for ‘al dente’ pasta.  We’ll finish cooking the pasta in the skillet.
    11 oz paccheri

Make the Pecorino Paste

  • Combine the finely grated pecorino cheese with some pasta water from the boiling pasta. Add the pasta water slowly to the cheese, mixing vigorously. Mix until you have made a smooth paste. Then, set the cheese sauce aside.
    Technically, the water should never be hotter than 140° F (59° C) when you add it to the cheese in order to avoid clumps. However, by drizzling the hot pasta water in slowly and mixing continuously you can typically avoid using a thermometer.
    7 oz pecorino cheese, 3.5 oz hot pasta water

Add Pasta Water Pepper

  • Add a few ladles of hot pasta water to the toasted pepper in the skillet. Simmer the water on medium heat to infuse the water with pepper.

Finish Cooking the Pasta

  • When the pasta has cooked ¾ of the way, transfer it to the skillet with the infused pepper water. Add 2 more ladles of pasta water and finish cooking the pasta to 'al dente.'
  • Add the mixed vegetables (vignarola) to the cooking pasta.
    fine salt, 5 tbsp from the 'Vignarola Romana' mix above!

Finish with Cheese

  • When the pasta has finished cooking, remove it from the heat.
    Add the pecorino paste and mix to combine it with the hot pasta. Serve!



Make it Faster! 
Use frozen peas and/or canned artichoke hearts to make this dish more quickly or when the fresh ingredients aren’t in season.
Keyword healthy
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