One of North America's most popular pasta dishes has deep, deep roots to the exotic shores of ... Nova Scotia.
The shores of Yarmouth County are well-known for lobster, not Pasta Primavera.
One night in 1975, New York chef Sirio Maccioni flew to the summer home of a rich Italian baron, called Shangri-La Ranch on Roberts Island.
Maccioni and his two top chefs experimented with game and fish, but eventually Baron Carlo Amato and his guests wanted something different.
"So I said let me do something with vegetables," says Maccioni, who owns the famed Le Cirque restaurant in New York City.
No one had mixed butter, cream, and cheese with vegetables and pasta before. The dish was a huge hit with the baron's guests, and when chef Maccioni brought the recipe back to New York it soon became an instant hit around the world.
At the Five Corners Restaurant in Yarmouth, chef Trevor Cunningham added the dish to his menu last summer.
"The key to cooking Pasta Primavera is that you don't want to cook the vegetables all the way through," he says.
Cunningham had no idea that the dish has its roots in his town.
"It's not something you'd think would come from a seafaring town," he says.
And Heather Burlingham had no idea her lunch was actually a native dish: "I'm actually very surprised at that."
This little piece of pasta history may not remain so obscure for long. A biography of Maccioni, which includes the genesis of Pasta Primavera, is set to hit bookstores this fall.