Every good cook has a drawer full of tricks, kitchen gadgets and recipes that save time, effort or both. Hungry crowds need meals to please and sometimes simple is best. I have several recipes and favorite tools that get a better work out than others, and this Light & Cheesy Pasta Primavera combines some of my Spring staples.
Yes, I was going for something simple, something that didn't leave me with a sink full of dirty dishes and little time left over for my family. I was going for something delicious and comforting. I immediately thought of pasta, cheese and the seasonal vegetables of Spring. And that is how this little twist on Pasta Primavera was born.
Fresh peas have made an appearance on the farm and this short window of time is always an exciting one. My kids are more than willing to both pick and shell peas for our meals. Even if you fancy yourself a pea "hater", you should give the freshly picked and freshly shelled legume a try. Sweet and bursting with flavor, they are nothing like the bland or tough version available the rest of the year.
So grab one-pot, a few simple ingredients and just a couple of tools to create a fun dinner tonight!
Speaking of kitchen tools...
First grab a can opener. Mine recently cut it's last can lid and I replaced it with this Good Cook model. This Safecut 4-1 Can Opener is my new drawer favorite. We tend to dull or break a can opener every few years and this model is very easy to use. It leaves a smooth cut edge on both the lid and can top and also serves as a cap twister, bottle opener and tab puller.
Anytime I can get multi-use out of a gadget, I am a happy Mom.
I chose to go with chick peas for this pasta to save me time and add in a good protein source while keeping this dish inexpensive. Seems like the price of meat just keeps going up, doesn't it?
Then since all the action is going on in one big pot, grab yourself a Utensil Pot Clip. This is a new item in my kitchen drawer and it has already saved me from a lot of drips and dribbles on the counters and around the stove. Even with the rim of my pot, the clip held and was a convenient way to keep my cooking spoon handy.
As a Mom who cooks for more than one dietary need in the family, I was thrilled to have a clip. This is a great and easy way to keep all my stirring spoons separate and prevent cross contamination from low-pro and regular dishes.
Another fun item to note is this Double-Sided Flip Measuring Spoon. Have you seen these? As opposed to having a drawer full of loose measuring spoons to sift through, this spoon combines a 1/4 tsp., 1/2 tsp., 1 tsp. and 1 Tbsp. measure that you can just "flip" to the correct size. I am going to deem this the ultimate in travel gadgets and would love to see these in vacation homes.
Have you ever stayed somewhere that boasts a fully stocked kitchen to find that some of the measuring spoons are conveniently missing? And of course you really need those?
Yeah, I have been there... and it isn't pretty.
Other essentials that I have used recently (and you may have noticed) in my recipes are the Egg Separator and the SMART Ice Cream Scoop. I used both when I made Custard Style Strawberry Ice Cream. Both handy and well made, I know I will be using all these tools all Summer long in my kitchen.
The beauty of this dish is all in the simplicity. One pot, the pasta cooks and veggies are added at the end of the cooking time. Then as everything gets drained, the sauce is created, it all goes back into the pot and gets seasoned and dusted with a generous helping of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.
Very few dishes.
Need I say more?
Light & Cheesy Pasta Primavera
You Will Need:
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 8 oz. Gemelli pasta
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
- 2 c. baby chard, roughly chopped
- 10 oz. fresh shelled peas
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
Begin by boiling your pasta, with vegetable stock added, in a large stock pot according to the package directions. Just 3 minutes before the pasta is done, add the zucchini and chard to the pot. For the final minute, add the fresh peas and chickpeas. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta mix in a collander.
While the pot is free, add in the butter and melt gently over low heat. Turn off the burner and add the lemon juice and zest. Add the pasta mixture back to the pot and toss to coat. Add the Parmesan and season to taste.
Now, wasn't that easy?
Build Your Kitchen Drawer Sweepstakes
You know those great kitchen tools I shared earlier? Well, they are part of Good Cook's featured products for their upcoming Sweepstakes. There are many fun ways to win, make sure your kitchen drawer is well stocked and even enjoy 25% off everything on the goodcook.com site!
Sweepstakes runs June 2nd, 2014 - July 14th, 2014
Head over to goodcook.com during the sweepstakes period and create your own essential kitchen drawer filled with 15 items of Good Cook products and gadgets.
Keep an eye out for the "ADD ME" icon on products to add to your drawer. I hope you will add a few of the items I highlighted above... And don't worry if you can't narrow it down, there will be featured Kitchen Expert Bloggers to help with pre-made drawers they suggest.
More fun on Facebook June 2nd - June 7th
Head over to the Good Cook Facebook page for 5 days of even more chances to win great kitchen items. There will be instant winners and everyday you have a new chance to submit your drawer of products for a chance to win.
There are so many great prizes available and chances to deck out your kitchen drawer with soon-to-be new favorites. I hope you will join me starting June 2nd.