I love pasta! I know it is the devil’s food, but I just love it! It is my go-to when I don’t want to cook or when I am home alone because the boys are off hunting or when I’m sick. Pasta just makes everything better. And it is SO easy to make! Lightened Up Spring Pasta Alfredo is no exception and it is not as heavy as spaghetti and meatballs or manicotti so you can still fit into your swimsuit come July-God I hate swimsuit season!!!! If I have to choose between eating pasta and wearing a caftan in 100 degrees or not eating pasta and sitting in a bikini I will choose pasta:) I mean really how many days do you sit around in a bikini? Go for the pasta, ha! I hear caftans are light and airy.
This recipe is a traditional pasta alfredo sauce, lightened up, but if you want to go even more healthy you can make this pasta with my Skinny Alfredo Sauce and it will be just as delicious. I normally serve this pasta as is, but you can add any protein you like such as grilled shrimp, grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, a piece of salmon…. all of which you can find in your high end grocery store already prepared so it cuts the prep time in half.
And as you know you can swap out any of the vegetables for ones that you like-mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green beans….
Now go forth and eat the devil’s food with pride! All things in moderation, right? Pasta once a day is moderation, isn’t is?
Lightened Up Spring Pasta Alfredo
- 16 oz cavatappi pasta or any short pasta (penne, rigatoni, macaroni)
- 1 small bag or 8oz sugar snap peas
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 small bunch broccoli, trimmed into bite sized pieces
- 1/3 bag or 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 4 oz cream cheese (about 1/2 a block)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Prepare an ice bath for the vegetables (fill a large bowl with cold water and ice). Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add about 1 tablespoon kosher salt to water. Blanch vegetables for 3 minutes in water. Using a wire strainer or slotted spoon remove vegetables from water ice bath and set aside. You want to keep the boiling water in the pot so do not pour the vegetables into a strainer and loose the hot water.
Once the vegetables are removed bring the water back up to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, about 9-12 minutes normally.
In a measuring cup or bowl whisk together milk and flour and set aside.
In another large pot heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Do not let the the garlic burn-it will be very bitter. After about 30 seconds add the milk/flour mixture to the garlic. Bring to a boil stirring often. It will begin to thicken after about 1 minute.
To the boiling milk mixture add the cream cheese. Whisk until melted and incorporated. Add salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low.
Add cooked pasta and drained vegetables (once the vegetables have cooled completely in the ice bath drain through a colander) to the pot with the cheese mixture. Stir gently to coat everything with the cheese and the vegetables heat through.
Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.