Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Creamy Spring Pasta

So in an attempt to please my assistant in the kitchen and his Italian cravings, I attempted a new recipe, with his help, this past week.  It was taken from my Cooking Light April 2012 edition.  It was quite a lovely dish, easy and fun to make, and best served with a glass of wine. :)  Served with this dish was a side of steamed carrots, lightly salted and peppered, for a colorful compliment to the dish.  Let's not forget the rhubarb pie with ice cream to balance out the meal. :)

Total Preparation Time: 30-40 minutes


  • 3 quarts water (used for boiling veggies and noodles, so the amount doesn't really matter)
  • 2 ounces French loaf or baguette, torn into pieces
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (2 inch) diagonally cut asparagus
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 6 oz. uncooked wheat spaghetti, fettuccine, or any other variety of pasta
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup 1% or fat free milk
  • 4 oz. 1/2 less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 ounce or 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. tarragon, fresh or dried
Putting It All Together:
1.  Bring water to a boil in a Dutch oven.  
2.  While water is boiling, take torn bread and put in food processor until coarse crumbs form.  
3.  Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 garlic clove to pan and saute for 1 minute; then add breadcrumbs to saute for 3 minutes or until golden brown or toasted lightly.  Remove mixture from pan and wipe pan clean with paper towel.
4.  Add asparagus and peas to boiling water; cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender (the asparagus is perfect with a slight crunch in the pasta, so don't overcook it!)  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, placing in a bowl with ice and rinsing with cold water to keep bright green color.
5.  Add pasta to the same boiling water you used for the veggies.  Cook for 10 minutes or until al dente (slightly chewy).  Drain and keep warm.
6.  Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and the remaining garlic cloves.  Cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.  Place flour in a small bowl; whisk in chicken broth.  Then add broth mixture and milk to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Reduce heat; cook 1 minute or until thickened.  While keeping on low heat, add cream cheese and grated cheese until melted along with the salt, pepper, and tarragon.  
7.  Add pasta, asparagus, and peas to alfredo and toss well.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs on pasta when serving.

Servings (4) (1 1/4 cups)
Calories: 408
Fat: 13.8 g
Protein:  17.6 g
Carbs: 54 g
Fiber: 4.6 g
Sodium: 625 mg

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