Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Get your 5 a day" Pasta

The butter, the oil, the bread crumbs, the cheese...make it stop! I seem to have been on a major comfort food kick lately and I know, it has to end.

I set out on this blog with such high hopes- I thought Id use this to illustrate just how healthy my kids eat, how lucky I am that they don't complain about what I cook. How we NEVER eat fast food in our house and help others who are challenged to find creative and nutritious foods for their family. blah blah blah.... what fun is that? Who wants to read about whole grain breaded tofu sticks anyway? So it sorta got off track and I'm here to get it back, a bit.

My fellow food buddy, Cynthia told me about a pasta she makes often - an adaptation of an Emeril recipe and it sounded good enough to try. It sounded healthy (spinach and chick peas) while still edible (Parmesan cheese and a bit of heavy cream). I found the recipe online and then proceeded to change it so dramatically that it hardly looked like it was ever related to the original version. I added some shrimp at the end but sauteed chicken or beef would be great too if you wanted to forgo the vegetarian version.

Its not fancy and you can probably substitute just about any veggies you have on hand. I do think the spinach is key though- the more the better. The original version did call for chick peas and I liked the extra protein boost that they gave. Before you hit the little red "x" at the top left and say "Ill check back tomorrow... give it a second look...its chock full of veggies but with just enough creaminess to satisfy.... go ahead, add a few more tablespoons of cheese, its OK:)

"Get your 5 a day" pasta

1 box penne pasta, cooked, drained
2 tbl olive oil
1 bunch spinach, washed well, stems removed
1 cup Yellow Pepper
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cubed mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbl flour
salt and pepper

In a large pan, saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, cook 1 min more. Add yellow pepper, mushrooms and zucchini and saute until lightly browned. De glaze pan with wine and add chicken stock. Add spinach and chick peas and cook until spinach wilts completely. Lightly crush the chick peas with the back of a spoon against the sides of the pan. Season with Salt and Pepper.

Bring to a boil until liquid is reduced by half, reduce to simmer. Add shrimp if using and cover until cooked thru. Remove lid, sprinkle flour over and stir.

Swirl in heavy cream and cheeses, remove from heat and toss with cooked pasta.

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