Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Meatless Monday’s Pasta Primavera

I stopped at the farmer's market on Sunday afternoon and found fresh English peas for my Meatless Monday dinner. I am not a big pea-eater, but fresh ones seemed way more appealing than the peas in the freezer. I found a Cooking Light recipe for Pasta Primavera which combined peas, squash and carrots with a light creamy sauce and seemed fairly family-friendly. I used the Barilla-plus pasta to lower the carbs and up the fiber. With a little kitchen help, this dish came together really quickly.

I debated about whether or not we should blanch the peas (the Cooking Light recipe did not call for that step) and decided that they might get overcooked if I did. Big mistake: my nice freshly shelled peas were rather firm. So, my version of the recipe, in addition to adding extra herbs, cheese and garlic, calls for blanching the peas:

Pasta Primavera

  • 1 1/2 cups baby carrots
  • 3 cups uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow squash, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup shelled green peas
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash; sauté 3 minutes. Add carrots, peas, salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. 
  2. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. 
  3. Add the peas to pot and blanch for about 10 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon. 
  4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  5. Stir in the wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in cream and juice; cook 1 minute. 
  6. Add the pasta and cheese to the pan and stir well to coat. 
  7. Remove the pan from from heat and stir in the basil, thyme and parsley.
  8. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes

W was a big fan – he ate two large bowls. I thought that it was good, but if I made it again, in addition to blanching the peas, would probably double the sauce and make it in a separate pan so that it could cook down and thicken a bit before I add it to the pasta.

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