Pasta Primavera may look as quintessentially 70s as a shaggy carpet, but the dish actually has a slightly more complicated history behind the scenes. This vibrant plate of pasta originally consisted of spaghetti coated in a buttery creamy sauce and tossed with a variety of fresh vegetables including green beans, tomato beans, asparagus, pine nuts and broccoli.
The dish was the brainchild of Sirio Maccioni, a Tuscan native who is also the maître de owner of Le Cirque restaurant in New York. Initially, the dish was created as an off-menu special, cooked at the table in front of the guests. It was off the menu after French chef Vergès considered it an insult to his native cuisine and refused to cook the pasta in his home kitchen.
Nonetheless, news of this secret dish made the rounds in fine dining circles, but was so inconsistent from day to day that it received mixed reviews from food critics. Before long, the popularity of the vivid pasta dish could not be ignored, and it was adopted as an official menu. Subsequent positive reviews catapulted the recipe to fame in his 1977, quickly becoming a staple on fine dining restaurant menus and a favorite throughout the ’70s and his ’80s.