To my American readers, I hope everyone had a memorable and delicious Thanksgiving celebration. Now that we have a moment to breathe before the holiday whirlwind begins, you also may be interested in simpler, healthy dishes equally as comforting as the feasts to come. Pardon my adoration for alliteration, but I have a pair of pasta platters I simply must share. I rarely make any dish twice (too many recipes still to try!), but we’ve enjoyed this first dish three times in a single month! Yes, by “we” I mean that even my Andrew absolutely loves this dish. A healthy alfredo? Who could imagine something more marvelous?
Thanks as always to the brilliant Vegetarian Times magazine for inspiring two fabulous weeknight dishes…
Lindsey’s Lemon and Chive Linguine
serves 4 (unless you also fall in love and can’t help yourself to an extra serving or three)
8 oz. dry whole grain linguine
1/2 cup Neufchâtel (light cream cheese)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup chopped chives
Besides tasting delicious, this meal is elegant and easy on the wallet. Fresh herbs are super-divine here, you must give in with so few ingredients to worry about. Please note the photos include ingredients from the original recipe, but listed above is my deliciously nutritious improvement.
Cook the linguine in salted water while heating a large skillet over low heat. Warm the cream cheese, oil, and juice of one lemon. Stir until the cream cheese melts.
Drain the pasta, and reserve 1/2 cup of the salty, starchy cooking water. Stir reserved cooking water into the cream cheese mixture. To the skillet, add the pasta, lemon zest, and chives tossing to coat. Season with coarse salt and plenty of pepper.
In the words of Ina Garten, how easy is that? Yes, this photo clearly contains parsley. Trust me on the chive revision.
This dish really requires nothing else, but if you’re rooting through the freezer and trying to stretch this out to something a wee more sustaining for big eaters (like A & L in this kitchen), toss in some 3-minute steamed broccoli…
Did I mention this dish and the one to follow are only 5 ingredients and on the table within 30 minutes?! Hellllllo, relaxing evening.
The next dish we tried just last night. Talk about a sneaky sauce for vegetables! Like the last dish, this sauce isn’t trying to fool anyone with complexity, it is what it is. And boy is it tasty.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
2 tbsp. garlic-flavored olive oil*
1 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 large carrot, finely diced (1/2 cup)
*if you don’t have garlic olive oil on hand either, I simply did this: heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. once hot, add four crushed cloves of garlic. stir until the cloves are golden and almost brown, then remove from the oil and set aside.
To the hot oil, add roasted peppers, onion, and carrot. Saute for five minutes on medium-high, or until the onions start to brown. Add 3/4 cup water, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package.
Remove the roasted pepper mixture from heat. If you have an immersion blender (hello fewer dishes!), puree in a small jar. Otherwise, puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
I anticipated a puree that would need serious amounts of pasta water to coat the noodles. But not a drop! It’s a kind of magical sauce. It is so thick, yet a minimum of fat and sodium. Here’s to good health. Delish!
My own little extras…
While blending the peppers, toss some veggies into the hot skillet for a quick steam. Green beans, broccoli, whatever may be around. Once cooked, thinly slice the golden garlic (that you set aside from the oil) and sprinkle over the veggies and pasta. We also had a lovely sharp cheddar on hand, so I added just a few shavings to our dinner. Yum!