Asparagus, pea pods, and other green veggies lend springtime flavor to cheesy, lemon pasta.
Winter is reluctantly loosening its grip, while spring barrels in – leading to longer, and slightly warmer days. In my kitchen, that means it’s time to cut back on soups and casseroles, and welcome lighter, brighter fare like pasta, green veggies, and everything lemon.
Every spring I make this quick, easy, and piquant dish to welcome longer days and sunny skies. Be sure to check my tips below the recipe to make this dish your own.
Lemon Pasta with Green Veggies
- 8 ounces rigatoni or ziti
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups chopped or sliced raw green vegetables
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese cut into cubes
- 1 Tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cook pasta following package directions, drain, and set aside.
- Heat oil in a 10-inch frying pan over medium heat. Add vegetables and cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are crisp-tender,about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and remove cooked vegetables to a serving dish. Keep warm.
- Reduce heat to low and add milk and cream cheese to skillet. Stir until cheese had melted and mixture is creamy. Add grated lemon peel and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine, add to cooked pasta and toss to coat.
- Serve pasta topped with mixed vegetables and black pepper. Makes 3-4 servings.
Suggested green vegetables: Asparagus, pea pods, broccoli florets, zucchini, broccolini, green beans.
Cream cheese substitute: Use one package any flavor Boursin Gournay Cheese (I especially like the basil and chives variety) instead of cream cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Alternate cooking method: Add the vegetables to the cooking pasta during the last 5 minutes. Drain. Combine with the cheese sauce. This coats the vegetables with the sauce also, but cuts cooking time and uses fewer dishes.
Toppings: Top each plate with additional shredded Parmesan cheese and lemon wedges if desired.
Pasta: I use rigatoni when making this dish, but you could use any medium sized pasta like rotini, farfalle, or cavatappi.
Make it a meal: Add chopped cooked ham or chicken to make this dish a full meal! Or serve with roasted chicken breasts or a bean salad.