The worst thing about pasta is that while it’s relatively innocent on its own, it’s extremely easy to corrupt with butter, cheese, bacon, sausage and other delicious food items that happen to be rich in calories and fat.
The best thing about pasta is that it can be equally easy to slim down whatever recipe you’re already dreaming up. Spicy turkey sausage is as satisfying to me as spicy pork sausage and fresh broccoli and earthy mushrooms are as satisfying as the heartiest meatballs. Well, sometimes.
My favorite pasta concoctions usually involve some combination of red sauce, seafood and a generous helping of parmesan cheese, but more recently, I’ve been craving creamy pastas. Not so good for the diet/health situation. To offset the cheese in this dish, shrimp steps up for a healthy serving of protein and vegetables add fiber and bulk, so it’s hard to overeat.
I like to cook with linguine but you could easily replicate this with whatever pasta you have in your pantry. Serve it with a load of crusty bread and a glass of red wine and you’ll never want to leave the house again.
- 6 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 8 ounces uncooked linguine
- 3 cups small broccoli florets
- 1½ tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 1 julienne-cut carrot
- ¾ cup ⅓-less-fat cream cheese
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a saucepan. Add ½ teaspoon salt and pasta; cook 5 minutes. Add broccoli; cook 3 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving ½ cup pasta water.
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add ½ teaspoon salt, shrimp, and carrot; sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta mixture, ½ cup pasta water, cream cheese, and pepper to pan; cook for 3 minutes or until cheese melts and shrimp are done, stirring occasionally.