July 06, 2011

Recipe: Creamy Pasta Primavera

I made a variation of one of my favorite invented recipes that I think came out really well.  It was tri-color rotini pasta with julienned carrots and zucchini in a creamy sauce with shredded Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and fresh parsley. Sounds decadent, but guess what makes it creamy?  Hummus!

I came up with adding the hummus to pasta sauce partly to create a lighter version of the garlicky cream sauce I love so much and partly to punch up the protein when Sweet P had less teeth.  The vegetables were easy, thanks to my awesome new julienne peeler from Pampered Chef.  That is, it was easy once I figured out how to use it without julienning my hand.  It was supposed to be a vegetarian dish, after all.

I imagine this would be good with just about any vegetables and any shape pasta you like.  Add some chicken or shrimp and dinner is done!

Initially, I had hoped the vegetables would get twisted into the rotini and therefore consumed along with the pasta.  Unfortunately, the toddler is always smarter than me.  I think some of the veggies may have accidentally been ingested, but she still won't eat the green noodles.  Next I think I'll try the cut spaghetti I found at the store so everything will be essentially the same shape.

Update!  It took me so long to get the original picture off of the camera that I have tried the recipe with the cut spaghetti.  For those with picky eaters, the majority of the zucchini just disappeared into the pasta.  You would never believe that there was a whole giant zucchini in the bowl.  It's not as pretty because I didn't have any herbs on hand beside rosemary (which was already on the chicken), but Sweet P loved it!

I did my best on the amounts, but I am of the "that looks about right" school of measuring.  If all else fails, taste it.  Faincy chefs say they never serve anything without tasting it first.  Simple, yet effective.

Ingredients:8 oz pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 medium carrots, julienned
3 cloves of garlic, minced (more or less depending on your preference)
1 large or 2 medium zucchini, julienned
1/2 cup hummus
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
pasta water or chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or whatever herb you have available)

Cook pasta as directed on package.  While the pasta is cooking, saute the carrots with salt and pepper in olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two more before adding the zucchini and a bit more salt and pepper.  Cook for a few minutes more, until carrots are softened.

Reduce heat and add the hummus, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Begin adding pasta water or broth and mix until a sauce has formed.  (this would be a good place to taste and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice.)  Stir in the Parmesan cheese and parsley, reserving some for garnish.  Stir in the cooked pasta, adding more water or broth if it is too dry.

Put in a serving dish and garnish with remaining Parmesan cheese and parsley.

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