Guest Dish Nicole is an account executive for Honora pearls. She says: “I went to school for fashion merchandising and moved to NYC directly after I graduated. I live in Greenpoint Brooklyn and love to cook and host for friends and family. In addition to my “account” work for Honora, I also do a weekly pearl pick on Honora’s face book page called “Nic’s pick of the week”. Every week I choose a new item from our line that I personally love and model it for the page to get fan feedback!” Let’s give Nikki some love!
Spring has finally arrived! Like most people all winter long I was indulging in my favorite carbohydrates: bread and pasta. But just because it is warm outside doesn’t mean you need to give pasta the old boot. I for one cannot stand the spring-induced diets my friends have all started without consulting me first (how dare they). Low-carb diets are no fun and way overrated if you ask me. Pasta can be healthy and light depending upon how you prepare it. Whether it is as a main course or a side dish, I love taking my friend pasta along for the ride.
Recently I’ve been browsing cook books for lighter dishes and came across this gem. It screamed SPRING (maybe because it’s in the name) and I had to try it:
4oz Penne (whole wheat penne is also great with this recipe)
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup whole milk (you can sub in 1or 2% milk for a lighter version)
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic- minced
1 shallot diced
¼ cup thyme
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Shaved or shredded parmesan cheese
First boil water in a large pot and cook pasta most of the way and add in asparagus for the last 3 minutes. Drain and return to the pot and set aside.
Next I made the sauce mixture by whisking the milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper together and set aside. Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat and add garlic and shallots and cook until golden brown. I added quite a bit more garlic and shallots due to the plethora I had at my house. The more the merrier I say, and believe me the outcome was perfection. Whisk the milk mixture into the sauce pan with the garlic and shallots.
Simmer for a few minutes and add salt and pepper to taste. The mixture will start to thicken, pull from heat and add thyme, lemon juice and lemon zest.
Now we are in the final stages: pour the mixture into the large pot of pasta and heat over medium heat until coated.
For my dish, I decided to add a protein. I pounded 3 chicken breasts, coated with olive oil salt, pepper and a pinch of Aleppo pepper for added kick and baked for 20 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees. I was prepared to grill but was out of propane, much to my dismay.
Now for serving: Just throw the pasta in a bowl, slice up the chicken and serve the hot pasta immediately garnished with parsley and parmesan. The pasta was met with rave reviews by my guinea pigs I mean friends. This is one dish I will be serving up again.
Oh pasta my dear – to know you is to love you…
Recipe adapted from Eating Well.