Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pasta with Leek, Pepper, and Chive Sauce

This seemed like an easy, tasty meal and I finally found some orecchiette so it seemed like a good dinner. It is, in fact, very easy. It was made better by sauteeing some shrimp and tossing that into the mix. In fact, we wouldn't make it without the shrimp if/when we make it again! Shrimp enhances the flavors quite a bit. Though the instruction in the note to peel the bell peppers seems stupid, I still did it and I'm glad I did because it does change the texture for the better. All in all, a very good dinner!

shrimps

Pasta with Leek, Pepper, and Chive Sauce
Cooking Light, April 2003

The leeks contribute to make a fine pasta sauce because they cook quickly to a buttery sweetness. Peel the bell peppers with a vegetable peeler; the pepper strips will become softer and adhere to the pasta better without the peel. We suggest that you use ear-shaped orecchiette, but any small pasta will work in this recipe.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/2 cups thinly sliced leek (about 3 large)
3 yellow bell peppers, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
3 cups hot cooked orecchiette pasta (about 3/4 pound uncooked)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek and bell pepper strips; saute 4 minutes. Stir in broth, rind, and juice; cook 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until cream cheese melts (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Add pasta, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Stir in Parmesan and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

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