When I made the meals list for the week, I knew I wanted to make some kind of lemon pasta with veggies. Last night I played around in the kitchen and came up with this recipe, which is just what I was looking for.
Over the last few years I've seen a number of lemon pasta recipes on the Food Network, but they're always made with heavy cream, butter and lots of cheese. Of course! Naturally I wanted to make a much lighter version of the dish, and honestly, if you add the right thickeners and seasonings, skim milk really does work just fine. The sauce had so much flavor that we didn't even add parmesan cheese on top, and I always want to sprinkle a little extra parm on my pasta.
I used broccoli, cherry tomatoes and pea pods, but you could easily substitute any veggies you like or happen to have in the fridge. I loved the cherry tomatoes because when you cook them slowly in the milk, they turn super sweet and burst in your mouth when you bite them. My mouth is watering just remembering the flavor! You could also sub out the shrimp for chicken or pork. Or just omit that altogether for a vegetarian meal. The sauce is really the crux of this recipe, after all.
Side note: I actually didn't have any fresh basil on hand and this tasted great without it. I added it to the recipe, though, because I would definitely have included it if I had some in the fridge. Lemon and basil are perfect pals.
Creamy Lemon Pasta with
Spring Veggies & Basil Shrimp
(Adapted from Lemon Fusilli with Arugula by Ina Garten)
Ingredients - Pasta
4 oz. whole wheat pasta
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Zest and juice of 1 1/2 lemons
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 cups fresh pea pods
2 cups skim milk
2 Tbsp. Wondra Quick Mix Flour (if you don't have Wondra, just substitute corn starch, but you may need to add more)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn (optional)
Ingredients - Shrimp
2 oz. shrimp
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When the pasta has about 5 minutes of cooking time left, add the broccoli florets and cook them together with the pasta. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened and slightly brown. Add milk, salt, pepper, lemon zest and tomatoes, and increase heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until milk begins to reduce. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Then stir the quick flour or cornstarch into a little water (just enough to make it into a paste) and then add it to the milk; stir with a whisk, then let continue cooking a few more minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Once sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add parmesan cheese and garlic powder and stir to combine. Then add lemon juice, pea pods, and cooked pasta and broccoli. Stir to combine.
To make the shrimp, pat the shrimp dry and coat them with the basil, salt and pepper. Cook them in a pan coated with cooking spray over medium heat about 5 minutes, until pink.
Divide the pasta between two bowls, then top with shrimp and torn basil. Serve and enjoy!