Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lemony Pasta

I've been working on a lemony pasta recipe for quite a while. It started last summer as a challenge from a friend who has a delightful tasting recipe with a little, OK a lot, too much butter and cream to be eaten on a regular basis. Then, somehow the recipe development went to the back burner, so to speak, and I forgot about it for quite a while. That's when Cooking Light came out with a veggie pasta recipe with a hint of lemon. Hmmm, I got back on the pasta wagon and went to work. Thanks to Cooking Light for the inspiration (well, for many, many inspirations) and to my friend Cindy for the challenge. I think I've found a lemony tasting pasta that is healthy enough to have as often as you like! I had this as a leftover, cold, and find that it tastes just as good cold as it does hot - how convenient is that?


1/2 pound whole wheat penne
12 stalks asparagus, cut diagonally into 1 inch lengths
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbs butter (optional - omit for vegan)
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
zest of one lemon
1 Tbs flour
1/2 cup soy creamer
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:  Bring a large pot with 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the whole wheat penne, return to a boil and cook for the minutes suggested on the package. Add the asparagus for the last minute of cooking. Drain.

Prepare the rest of the pasta while the pasta water is coming to a boil, and the pasta is cooking. Heat the olive oil and butter in a non stick skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to soften. Add the thyme, lemon zest, and flour. Stir to combine. Slowly add the soy creamer, stirring constantly so that the mixture begins to thicken. Add the white wine, lemon juice, and peas and cook for another minute or two, until the peas turn bright green and the lemon sauce thickens. Add the drained pasta and asparagus to the onion, mushroom, and lemon sauce mixture. Stir, then taste. Add salt as necessary. Serve, topping each serving with some of the Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6

Stealthy Cooking Tip: I have conversations with myself all the time about whether to use unsalted or salted butter. Unsalted butter allows the cook to better control the salt in a dish. However, I use so little butter in my cooking that I haven't found that to be as useful as I originally thought. The salt in salted butter allows it to remain usable for a longer time, as the salt is acting as a preservative. So, I usually purchase salted butter, so that it remains usable in my frig for a longer period of time. Practical, and useful if you don't use butter very often.

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