Penny-Pinching Primavera: Italian on a Budget

Penny-Pinching Primavera: Italian on a Budget


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This is a quick, delicious and inexpensive pasta primavera that will look (and taste) restaurant entree-worthy. Enjoy seasoned mixed veggies, chicken breast chunks, and a light and creamy sauce without taking a major hit to your budget.

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Time needed

15 min preparation + 30 min cooking

Serving Size / Yield

4 servings


  • For Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • Garlic Salt and pepper to taste
  • For pasta
  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium zucchini squash and 1 yellow squash, sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped in thirds crosswise
  • 5 heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half

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For Sauce:
Break out a sturdy saucepan and melt 2 tbsp butter.
Then, stir in your flour. Let it cook until the sauce is bubbling but not brown —this should be about 2 minutes. Be sure to stir constantly.
Slowly pour in your milk and allow the sauce to thicken. Once all of your milk has been added, allow the sauce to come to a boil. Once your mixture is simmering, sprinkle in salt and pepper (to your desired taste).
Then, lower your heat, get the mixture off of boil, and stir on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
For pasta:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Then, add your penne pasta and cook for at least 7 minutes at a boil. Remove one noodle from the pot with a spoon to test the consistency of the pasta. Once you're satisfied, drain and put your noodles in a large serving bowl.
Next, in large skillet, saute your chicken in two tablespoons of olive oil for 6-8 minutes. Stir often, and add in your garlic salt and pepper to taste. When your chicken is cooked through, remove from heat place it on top of your pasta in the large serving bowl and then set that aside again.
Now it’s time to chop all of your veggies! Slice and dice your vegetables to your desired size, then add all but the tomatoes to the same skillet that cooked the chicken in.
Allow these veggies to saute for about 3-4 minutes slowly adding in your 1/4 cup of water and stirring constantly. Drop your sliced tomatoes into the mix during the final minute, then put on in the serving bowl with your chicken.
Pour your white sauce over your chicken, veggies, and pasta. Toss everything together gently to integrate the sauce. Season with a little extra garlic salt to taste and feel free to sprinkle in some extra Parmesan cheese if you like.
After that, all you have yo do is serve!

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