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Monday, May 24, 2010

Healthier Pasta Primavera

This recipe appealed to me (I think it is from Family Circle Magazine) because it is meatless and healthy. We've been trying to eat less meat so that we can spend less money. My husband also loves pasta. Don't let the half-and-half scare you, the recipe isn't that awful for you (serves 6, uses an entire pound of pasta, there are tons of veggies).

Why I might not make this again:
-I found it time-consuming to prepare and make. I cut up all the veggies ahead of time.
-The actual cooking part was a disaster, as my little 11-month old didn't want me to do anything but play with him.
-Also, it used two saucepans, a skillet, cutting boards, measuring cups, and a strainer ('noodle-stay-water-go') so there was LOTS to wash and dry by hand, which is always a problem in my book.
-All the sauce ended up at the bottom of the pot. It was hard to mix.

The good news is that there are tons of leftovers. We will be having it tomorrow night, too, and one of us can have it for lunch.

This would be great to make if you're having company and have about an hour to devote for preparation prior to their arrival. Just make a loaf of bread in your breadmaker and you've got a frugal yet really nice meal for your guests.

Healthy Pasta Primavera

Makes: 6 servings (they are generous) Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 14 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 sweet orange peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 pound spaghetti (break it in half)
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Shaved Parmesan, optional

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and green beans; cook 4 minutes. Add peppers and cook 1 more minute. Scoop out vegetables with a large slotted spoon and place in a colander. Rinse under cold water.

2. Add pasta to boiling water and cook following package directions, about 9 minutes. Drain; return to pot.

3. While pasta is cooking, place half-and-half, chicken broth, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add cooked veggies and tomatoes. Cook, stirring a few times, about 1 minute, 30 seconds. Spoon into pasta pot. Stir grated cheese into the half- and-half mixture. Add to pasta and gently stir in parsley until all ingredients are combined. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Shave Parmesan on top, if desired.

425 calories/serving; 11 g fat; 447 mg sodium and 6 grams of fiber.

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