Friday, May 11, 2012

recipe: creamy spring pasta

It seems like this year, I've been bookmarking more Creamy Spring Pasta recipes than I ever have before.  Michael Symon on The Chew did one here.  When I was at the grocery store buying the ingredients to make this recipe the asparagus looked thicker than the diameter of the great California redwoods, so I decided to fore go the asparagus and picked up some broccolini instead. (Because who doesn't love to just say the word broccolini, let alone eat it?) I also added some chicken that I had cooked up in a pan.  However, I think next time I'll just shred up a store bought rotisserie chicken to make it even easier.  We are big fans of having 1 bowl dinners every few weeks - in that the veggies, protein, etc. are all in one bowl so that we can sit in front of the tv and watch a Giants game while eating dinner. This recipe is definitely a keeper, and I think I'll keep sticking with adding the brocollini instead of the asparagus just because we eat roasted asparagus on a regular basis, that the broccolini was a bit of a treat. Also, I'm not sure why adding toasted bread crumbs on top makes it so special but it almost felt decadent to have them. I'm sold. Loved it.

Below is the recipe from April's Cooking Light but with my notes in italics.  


Creamy Spring Pasta


  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 ounces French bread baguette, torn into pieces  (I just toasted up store bought bread crumbs.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (2-inch) diagonally cut asparagus (or Broccolini)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 6 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup packed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon (I didn't have any of this, so it didn't get included in my recipe.)


  1. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven.
  2. Place torn bread in a food processor; process until coarse crumbs form. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 garlic clove to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs; sauté 3 minutes or until golden brown and toasted. Remove breadcrumb mixture from pan; wipe pan clean with paper towels.
  3. Add asparagus and peas to boiling water; cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Rinse under cold water; drain. (I cooked up the broccolini just about how they say to cook the asparagus. However I didn't use the same pot for cooking the pasta as I did for cooking the broccolini...something about the green water just didn't appeal to me.)
  4. Add pasta to boiling water; cook 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and keep warm. (I used fresh fettucine so it cooked in about 3-5 minutes.)
  5. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and the remaining 2 garlic cloves; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Place flour in a small bowl; gradually whisk in chicken broth. Add broth mixture and milk to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; add cheeses, salt, and pepper, stirring until cheeses melt. Add pasta, asparagus, and peas; toss well. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and tarragon.  (Since I also added cooked chicken, I tossed that into the pot after the cheese had melted.)

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