While pasta primavera can all too often seem like it’s stuck in the ’80s, the best versions highlight fresh quickly cooked spring vegetables bathed in a creamy—not claggy—sauce. And it turns out the primavera treatment is equally delicious when you swap the pasta for golden brown chicken cutlets. Think of the pearl onions, asparagus, and peas in this recipe only as a template—primavera means “spring” in Italian, so feel free to bring any and all of the season’s green vegetables into the mix. You can swap in fava beans, sugar snap peas, or even wild ramps. If you can’t find pearl onions (you want the frozen peeled ones), use chopped scallions or spring onions. One thing you really shouldn’t substitute here: the heavy cream. (Half-and-half will curdle when it mixes with the lemon juice in the pan sauce.) —Christian Reynoso
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cup all-purpose flour
tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more
large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1½ lb. total), patted dry
cup plus 1 Tbsp. grapeseed or vegetable oil
oz. frozen pearl onions or 1½ cups coarsely chopped scallions (pale green and white parts only)
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
cup heavy cream
cup low-sodium chicken broth (Better Than Bouillon also works great here)
cup fresh lemon juice
oz. asparagus, woody ends trimmed, thinly sliced on a diagonal
cups shelled fresh peas (from about 1¼ lb. pods) or frozen peas
tsp. Dijon mustard
cup very coarsely chopped dill, divided
Shaved Parmesan (for serving; optional)
Whisk together ½ cup all-purpose flour, 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt, and ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.
Slice 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1½ lb. total), patted dry, on a cutting board in half lengthwise to create 4 cutlets. Working one at a time, gently pound each cutlet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to about ½” thick. Transfer cutlets to reserved bowl of seasoned flour and toss to coat very well. Working one at a time, shake off excess flour and transfer cutlets to a plate.
Heat ¼ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add 2 cutlets to pan and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn cutlets over and cook until golden brown on other sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter or plates and repeat with remaining 2 cutlets.
Remove pan from heat and carefully wipe out with a paper towel to remove most of the excess oil and browned bits. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. grapeseed or vegetable oil to pan and heat over medium. Add 5 oz. frozen pearl onions or 1½ cups coarsely chopped scallions (pale green and white parts only) and 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to turn translucent, about 4 minutes if using pearl onions or 2 minutes if using scallions. Add ½ cup heavy cream, ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth, and ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by a third, about 3 minutes.
Add 8 oz. asparagus, woody ends trimmed, thinly sliced on a diagonal, and 1¼ cups shelled fresh peas (from about 1¼ lb. pods) or frozen peas and cook, stirring, until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Mix in 1 tsp. Dijon mustard followed by ¼ cup very coarsely chopped dill; season with salt.
Spoon vegetables and sauce over cutlets. Season with more pepper and top with shaved Parmesan (if using) and remaining ¼ cup very coarsely chopped dill.