Tag Archives: comfort food

Peas and Shells Alfredo

9 May

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Springtime comfort food at it’s finest. Whole wheat pasta shells with spring peas, soakin’ it up in a rich, creamy sauce.

I found the finest asparagus at the farmer’s market to pair with this saucy pasta. Thin asparagus is the name of the game; if you can get your hands on some, it’s a whole new experience than the regular fatties we are so used to seeing.

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The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is packed with outstanding, fool-proof recipes that are actually quite simple and definitely doable in a small NYC kitchen. So far I’ve made her Cranberry Crumb Bars, Spatchcocked Flat-Roasted Chicken, Turkey Meatballs, and Deep-Dish Apple Pie…

This pasta is a one-pot recipe with just a few ingredients that come together quickly for a weeknight meal.

Did I mention this is HOMEMADE ALFREDO PASTA?! And heck is it better than than the Alfredo I remember as a kid (psst…for the vegans, check out this recipe for vegan fettuccine Alfredo made with a cashew cream).

While I omitted adding chopped herbs to the shells, I certainly wish I had some on hand. The one ingredient that I think is not to be skipped under any circumstances is the lemon zest. The citrus zing balances out the creamy, cheesy sauce and keeps everything nice and bright.

Peas and Shells Alfredo

recipe from Shutterbean, originally from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1/2 lb of dried small pasta shells (I used whole wheat)

1 cup organic sweet peas (I used frozen ones…no fresh ones at the market yet…)

1 cup heavy cream

2-3 tablespoons butter (depending on how rich you want the sauce to be)

zest from 1 medium size lemon

1 cup grated Parmesan

fresh ground black pepper and salt, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions. Add peas to cook during the last minute of pasta cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, set aside. Drain the pasta and the peas.

Dry out the pasta pot, and pour in the heavy cream. Bring the cream to a simmer, and cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the butter, and stir it until it has melted. Generously season the sauce with freshly ground black pepper, add a pinch of salt as well as the lemon zest. Add 3/4 cup Parmesan, and stir it until the sauce is smooth; then toss in the drained pasta & peas. Cook the pasta in the sauce for 2 minutes, until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the reserved pasta water by the spoonful if needed to loosen up the sauce.

Divide the pasta among bowls. Garnish with remaining Parmesan, a touch of salt, and a squeeze of lemon.

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

24 Jul

Fettuccine Alfredo. A classic childhood favorite.

Here’s a recipe that can satisfy your craving without weighing you down. Yep, this recipe is vegan, dairy-free, cholesterol-free, saturated fat-free. Now don’t you worry, there is still a heck of a lot of creaminess going on. Cashews=creamy, buttery, rich. Cashews get soaked in water, drained, and blended with aromatic onions and garlic. Unctuous, silky sauce.

The Alfredo sauce really comes together with a few dashes of lemon juice and white miso paste (Chloe says this is optional, but I love white miso and I would not skip it; you can purchase white miso at Whole Foods).

I added some peas and a few halved grape tomatoes to my noodles, and slurped it all up alongside roasted asparagus spears.

I kid you not, this tastes like traditional fettuccine alfredo. Maybe even better since I know how much healthier this version is…

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

From Chloe’s Kitchen

serves 4-6

1 pound fettuccine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup raw cashews or blanched almonds*

2 cups water

2 teaspoons white miso paste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

optional: chopped Italian parsley, frozen or fresh peas, halved grape tomatoes…

*Soak your cashews or almonds in water overnight to soften. This ensures that the sauce will blend up nice and smooth. Alternatively, you could boil the nuts for 10 minutes and then drain.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook according to the package directions. If you are using frozen peas, drop them (I used about 1/2 cup?) into the water about 2 minutes before the pasta is done cooking. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and let cook until soft. Add garlic and let cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat.

In a blender, combine the onions and garlic, cashews, water, miso paste, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Process on high until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

Toss the hot pasta with the sauce until the noodles are evenly coated. Adjust seasoning to taste. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Garnish with fresh tomato slices and parsley, if using.