Just a small amount of reduced-fat cream cheese underscored by grated Parmesan gives the sauce for this vegetarian pasta dish a lovely creamy texture. Using some of the pasta cooking water to smooth the sauce and melt the Parmesan is an old Italian trick.
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts
- 10 ounces short fusilli (or other pasta)
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet until the skins begin to flake and the nuts are fragrant, about 7 minutes. Place the nuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove as much of the skin as possible (some skin will remain). When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the hazelnuts and set aside.
2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, combine the asparagus, peas, water, garlic, and salt. Cover and cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, and stir in the cream cheese. Cook until the cream cheese has melted.
4. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl, add the reserved pasta cooking water, asparagus mixture, lemon zest, Parmesan, and hazelnuts, and toss to combine. Makes 4 servings
Per serving: 390 calories, 11g total fat (3g saturated), 13mg cholesterol, 6g dietary fiber, 57g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 650mg sodium.
Good source of: folate, niacin, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin.