Creamy Spring Pasta

I was talking to my mom on the phone earlier this week and she mentioned she was making a creamy pasta with peas (her favorite) for dinner. Naturally, I had some taste bud jealousy and decided that I needed to have that as well this week. Cooking Light’s most recent issue had this Creamy Spring Pasta which sounded fantastic so I was able to!
Ingredients:
3 quarts water
2 ounces French bread baguette, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 batch of asparagus, cut diagonally into two inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas and carrots mixture
6 ounces fresh spinach 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

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the torn bread to a food processor (I just used my Magic Bullet) and process until it becomes coarse crumbs.
Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add one minced garlic clove to the pan and cook for 1 minute.  Add the breadcrumbs and cook for 3 minutes, sitting frequently. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe the pan down so that you can use it again.
Your pot should now be boiling. Add the asparagus and peas and carrots to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove from the water (you need the water to cook the pasta). Add the vegetables to a colander and rinse with cold water.
Add the olive oil to the saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic cloves and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. While the onion and garlic are cooking, add the flour to a small bowl and gradually whisk in the chicken broth. Add this to the saute pan. Also stir in the milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 1 minute.
Add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and reserve.
Remove the milk mixture from heat. Add the Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper, stirring until the cheeses melt.
 
Add the pasta and reserved vegetables and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and tarragon and serve.
Doesn’t it just look like spring?
The sauce does a really great impression of a cream sauce. I honestly don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference between this sauce and one made with heavy cream.


I wish I had added some of the tarragon to the sauce as well to get more of that flavor, but it was still nice as little bites of tarragon flavor.


Asparagus this time of year is just perfect. It was still crisp and bright so it stood out through the cream sauce.


And the toasted bread crumbs were awesome. An extra crunch to top off the dish!


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Comments

Creamy Spring Pasta — 11 Comments

  1. Great choice on the veggie blend in this dish and I like the touch of tarragon as well! We can never get enough pasta around here and it is nice to come across something new-this recipe is a keeper-yum!

  2. Oh I saw that in Cooking Light and was instantly drawn to it. Thanks for the great post and review – it looks amazing! And you’re right, it’s the perfect representation of spring.

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