Primavera Jamaicana

A Jamaican take on traditional Italian primavera, Primavera Jamaicana features as the name suggests, a host of local island vegetables and spices including ginger, scotch bonnet, pumpkin, plantain, cho cho (chayote) and string beans cooked down in an island style with coconut milk, cream and parmesan cheese. Spinach (or any vegetable) fettucini pasta makes a nice companion with this dish but feel free to use whatever is available to you.

Serves 6

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and
finely chopped
1⁄4 scotch bonnet, seeded and minced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1⁄2 red pepper, sliced
1⁄2 very ripe plantain, peeled and cut
 into cubes
1 cup peeled calabaza pumpkin, cut
 into matchsticks
1 cho cho (chayote), peeled and cut
 into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
1⁄2 cup French beans (local string beans), trimmed
1⁄4 cup Jamaican brandy or sherry
11⁄2 cups heavy cream
11⁄2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
 cheese, to taste
1 pound spinach fettuccine pasta
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1
Warm the oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the scallions, garlic, ginger, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme and red pepper. Add the plantain and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin, cho cho and French beans. Add the brandy and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and reduce for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the coconut milk and cook until thickened. Stir in the Parmesan and set aside.

Step 2
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente according to the package directions. Drain and toss immediately with the vegetable mixture in the saucepan. Season again with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

*For a different spin on the recipe, add ½ cup chopped bacon in Step 1, along with the onions and peppers, and cook until crispy.

Cooking Hint
If you are not serving this pasta (or any of our other pasta dishes) immediately, but want to be as ready as possible in advance, you can blanch the pasta then transfer it to an ice-water bath to shock it; this stops the cooking process. Toss the pasta with a little vegetable oil and hold covered until ready to use. Make sure to slightly undercook the pasta, because when you add it back to the pan with the sauce, it will continue to cook!

Get these and more great recipes from Michelle and Suzanne Rosseau on their website