Thursday, January 20, 2011

piccolini with peas and carrots

recipe  adapted from Giada De Laurentis

I'm always looking for a lunch menu that will appeal to the masses.  What kid doesn't love cheesy pasta?  I can even get Riley to eat this (minus the peas unfortunately).  This pasta dish comes together quickly and is perfect to toss into a thermos and send to school or serve as a family style lunch over the weekend!  I found that using fresh basil is a must!  It really compliments the sweet creaminess of the mascarpone.

Prep Ahead Plan:  I made a big batch of this and will keep it in the fridge to serve over the weekend for a quick heat and eat family lunch (if there is any left)!  You can also make it ahead of time and heat it up before spooning some into a thermos on busy weekday mornings! If you find it has thickened up too much in the fridge, just thin it with a bit of chicken broth or water.

Piccolini with Peas and Carrots
1/2 pound (8 ounces) pastina or other small-shaped pasta (I used piccolini-mini bow ties)
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup chicken broth (maybe an additional 1/4-1/2 cup for thinning)
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leave

1.  Boil the pasta according to package directions.
2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onions in olive oil until soft (a few minutes).
3.  Add the carrots and saute a few minutes more, then add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Let the mixture boil for about 5 minutes.
4.  Add the drained pasta to the skillet and stir to combine.  Turn off the heat and stir the cheeses and basil into the pasta mixture until they are melted.  Add additional chicken broth if you think it is too thick!  I added about 1/4 cup to my finished mixture!

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