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NOURISHMENT – Recipes for Success

Spring-Clean Your Weeknight Pasta Recipe

By Elle Penner, MPH, RD

After a long winter, there’s nothing more welcoming than the sight of spring’s first vegetables. Fresh sweet peas and snappable spears of asparagus are two of our favorites, and also rank high on the latest Clean 15 list — a list of 15 non-organic fruits and veggies that generally have the least pesticide residue. Organic or not makes little difference with this dynamic duo.

In this creamy pea and asparagus pasta primavera, fresh asparagus, snap peas and frozen sweet peas are sauteed to al dente perfection and tossed with fresh fettuccine. It’s then topped with a healthy cream sauce made with just three ingredients: chicken or vegetable broth, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and whole milk Greek yogurt for creaminess and protein in lieu of creme fraiche.

The best part of all? It comes together in less than 24 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight dinner option. Of course, the veggies can be prepped and defrosted in advance to make this an under-20-minute dinner — just be sure to make the cream sauce right before serving for best taste and texture.

CREAMY PEA AND ASPARAGUS PASTA PRIMAVERA

SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 ounces fresh fettuccine (or 12 ounces dry)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas, ends trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces (1 generous cup)
  • ½ bunch (about 8 ounces) asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • ⅔ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • fresh lemon for serving

DIRECTIONS

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup pasta water. After draining, return pasta to pot, cover and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Add snap peas and asparagus and cook until just barely tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and peas and cook another minute, then season with salt and pepper.

While veggies cook, start the sauce. In a small saucepan, warm chicken broth over medium-low heat. Once warm (but not boiling), add Greek yogurt and Parmesan cheese. Reduce heat to low and whisk constantly until cheese has melted, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add cooked pasta to pot with veggies, then the sauce. Toss gently until sauce coats pasta and veggies are mixed throughout. Sprinkle with parsley, additional Parmesan and a squeeze of fresh lemon, if desired. Serve immediately.

Video and Photo credit: Elle Penner, MPH RD

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Author

Elle Penner, MPH RD

Elle Penner is a registered dietitian and former lead dietitian at MyFitnessPal, turned full-time writer, recipe creator, photographer, blogger and mama. Her favorite things include her camera, carbs, sweaty workouts and her son.

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