Tuscany chef Adam Vickers’ ode to spring
“I don’t use recipes,” says Tuscany’s long-time chef, Adam Vickers. “It’s all in here,” he says, gesturing to his head. For a chef who’s been at Tuscany’s helm since 2009—and working for other restaurants owned by the same company since 1996—he’s got a lot going on in that head.
Not only does Vickers know precisely how each item on Tuscany’s menu is prepared, he also shows creative flair for springtime specials, such as the pasta primavera. Many aren’t aware that this classic pasta dish—while not on the menu—can be made to order with your choice of the freshest ingredients in the kitchen.
Tuscany serves only housemade pasta, and for this dish, Vickers uses broad, flat pappardelle noodles, made with 100-percent semolina flour. “I like the texture of semolina,” he says. “It has a backbone to it. It will hold up.”
The pasta’s fresh, but then, so is nearly every ingredient the chef adds to it. “We butcher our own meat and use herbs from our own garden,” Vickers says.
Vickers’ goal as chef is maintaining consistency, he says. He wants the dining experience to be outstanding every time. “The challenge as a chef is getting the staff to match your own drive and passion,” he says. He accomplishes that by working alongside his crew in the kitchen every day.
Tuscany Chef Adam Vickers’ Pasta Primavera (Serves 2)
8 ounces freshly made pappardelle pasta
1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
8 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 yellow squash, sliced into coins, then half moons
¼ cup fresh garden herbs (chives, baby sorrel)
1 clove sliced garlic
1 tablespoon butter
Fresh cracked pepper
2 teaspoons umami seasoning
Gather ribbons of fresh pappardelle into fist-sized balls and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Drop the “balls” of pasta into boiled salted water and cook al dente (about 8 to 10 minutes).
While pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a large sauté pan and heat over medium-high flame.
Add squash, tomatoes and asparagus, stirring until vegetables become tender, about 2 minutes.
Add garlic, season to taste with salt and pepper, and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of umami seasoning.
Combine with a dab of butter for flavor.
Deglaze pan with ½ to 1 cup of white wine.
Remove pan from heat.
Pull pasta balls out of water and drop into sauté pan with vegetables.
Add a quarter cup of starchy pasta water to help create a sauce that binds ingredients.
Toss noodles with vegetables.
Add additional butter if desired and most of the garden herbs, holding back some for the garnish.
Serve on plates, top with shaved Parmesan and remaining herbs.
2832 E. 6200 South, SLC